The cold and windy days of winter can sometimes discourage us from getting the physical activity we need to stay healthy.
However physical activity during all seasons is particularly important for kids to ensure optimum wellbeing and provide them with a healthy future, says Cancer Council Queensland.
Keeping kids’ minds and bodies active helps them sleep better, boosts energy, creates opportunities for making new friends and develops physical and social skills.
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So, what can we do to get our children moving more while it’s chilly? Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan shares her top tips to help parents:
1. Be a good role model.
Children are very quick to mimic the habits of their parents – and active adults present a consistent reminder of the role of physical activity in health and happiness. Parents can model healthy behaviour by taking their children outside for family activities, working in the yard, heading to the gym or doing living room calisthenics, and minimising sedentary behaviours.
2. Go to an indoor facility.
Swim laps in a heated pool, or for something different why not try out rock climbing? You could also head to the shopping centre for a walk or meander around the local library for incidental exercise.
3. Sign up for classes or sport.
If your child doesn’t already participate in any extra-curricular activities, now might be a good time to get started, with registration and pre-season training starting soon for many summer sports. You could even join a club as a family!
4. Get creative at home.
Set up a treasure hunt with cryptic clues for the kids, or put on some music and have a dance party. Active games like Simon Says, Twister, Hopscotch, and Chase are easy to do in the house or backyard.
5. Alter sedentary activities.
There are lots of exercise videos that are geared toward younger audiences – why not find something that includes aerobics, dance, yoga, or even martial arts?
6. Bundle up and go outside anyway.
Go for a winter hike, warm up with a game of tag or touch football, or hit the playground. Breathe in the fresh air and bring along water, a hot thermos and warm, wholesome snacks to keep you going.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day. For health benefits, children and young people, aged over five years, should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland and healthy living is available at cancerqld.org.au.