Did you know 2 out of 3 kids don’t get any physical activity throughout the day? 1 in 3 children between the ages of 2-19 are considered overweight or obese. 96% of elementary schools do not offer physical education. When it comes to getting kids to exercise, for many parents and teachers, it can be a real battle. Weather your child struggles with ADHD or has lower energy, you need to intentionally make a plan to get your kids moving throughout the day. But what’s the right way to go about it? Let’s discuss a few ways to incorporate movement into your child’s day and deliberately plan a workout for them to follow.
Make a plan and stick to it
Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Let’s jot down some movements that will help your child be more mobile, flexible and strong. Think pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and squats. They’re all great movements for kids to get a grasp on early in life. Always come back to exercises that include these movements if you’re unsure what to do.
Part of my children’s schedule each day is to workout. Oftentimes I send them right into the garage to do 10 reps of each movement 3 times. I’ve even made them do burpees if they start fighting. Works every time. It helps them gain strength and stop fighting. I don’t know one person who likes to do burpees. They’re painful but effective.
Our plan as a family is to wake up early together and get a workout in. It can be anything. We like to swim laps at our clubhouse pool, or head to the gym for a quick workout together. Mostly we use our garage or living room to do calisthenics. We include a day or two of stretching and yoga. We’ve also gone hiking, bike riding, and play tennis. It connects us more as a family when we are a practicing self discipline together.
Movement and learning are connected
Research now shows us that children do better in school and especially on tests when they are exercising and moving their bodies. Especially those with ADHD. If you want to improve your child’s academic performance and attitude towards school, put them on a 12 week fitness plan like the one I mentioned above, and watch their scores and grades go up.
Having regular PE time daily is great, but it’s not enough. If we consider the time kids are sitting at their desks and then sitting on the bus en route to home or school, then they come home and sit and play video games, they are sitting a lot. We need to get them moving in equality to them sitting. In addition to PE time, can you put them on a sports team or sign them up for jiujitsu or perhaps tennis? Anything to get them moving more and sitting less. I personally think it’s good to put them in some sort of physical martial arts class. My son is currently doing Muay Thai and he loves it. He says it’s really hard and sometimes I need to push him a bit to go, but he learns so much.
Why aren’t kids moving enough these days?
A groundbreaking study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that children between ages 8-18 are spending, on average, 7.5 hours/day in front of a screen SITTING, regardless of socioeconomic status. Combine that with the time sitting at school (between 4-6 hours/day), driving to school, sitting at meals, and doing homework, our kids are spending 10-14 hours/day or 75% of their waking hours in sedentary positions.
In 1980, there were 81,000,000 TVs in American households.Today, there are 324,000,000 TVs. At the same time the number of TVs has tripled, the number of obese children and adolescents has also tripled.
We ended up getting rid of one of the televisions in our home. The big screen in the living room. It wasn’t a decision I was intentionally going to make. It happened because my child got mad at the t.v, threw a remote at it, and cracked the screen. I was already in the processes of getting the children off of electronics. I’d gotten rid of the Nintendo switch, the computer and any device they’d have access to video games. The effects of those games on my son’s brain was terrifying to me. He would have angry outbursts, and would be extremely rude to everyone. It was as if he was a completely different person when he’d play video games. When I found out he cracked the tv. I wasn’t even mad. I was relieved in a way. One less device in the house. One less device emitting EMF’s, which were definitely affecting his brain.
Kids don’t walk to school anymore
“When I was a child, I walked 2 miles to school and back each day…IN THE SNOW!” That’s what your grandpa said right? Mine did. I think my parents said it too. I walked about a mile to school and back each day when I was in elementary school. Times were different back then. Kids would play night games and spend their free time outside jumping on the trampoline or playing a board game. We explored, wandered, dreamed, imagined, built. We used our hands. But mostly we walked. A lot. I remember being 14 years old and walking to my cousins house the next town away (12 miles or more one way). We weren’t old enough to drive, so we walked everywhere.
Parent’s have a lot more information now about keeping kids safe. Even if they live just a 1/2 mile from the school, most parent’s would never let their child walk home for fear of a kidnapping. It’s true, we live in a world where things are becoming less and less safe. This is why it’s important that our child learn some self defense skills and confidence should they be put in a situation that’s dangerous. Just having awareness that our children aren’t walking as much, it is our responsibility as the parent to make sure they are getting PLENTY of physical activity.
The loss of P.E
I mentioned kids need more physical activity throughout the day in addition to PE. PE has been cut or dramatically decreased in most American schools. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends of at least 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Today, however, only 4 percent of elementary schools, 8 percent of middle schools, and 2 percent of high schools provide daily physical education. Numbers are decreasing.
In some major cities, physical education class sizes rose to 80 students in some cases, making effective teaching nearly impossible. Only a small percent of students can actually pass a state-wide physical fitness test, in part because budget cuts wiped out physical education programs. In a 2011 survey released by the California State PTA, 75 percent of California PTA members said their children’s PE or sports programs were cut or reduced dramatically. We need to fight to bring back PE and increase recess time for kids as well.
Take movement breaks throughout the day
Set a timer. Every 30 minutes of sitting, take a quick movement break. Just spend two minutes doing something like lunges or squats. Walk around your house or go for a quick jog around the block every hour. Check out this website for quick 2 minutes videos to get you and your kids moving on the regular.
As you spend small amounts of time moving throughout the day, you’re improving your health. If you do that day in and day out, it becomes a habit. As you commit to this habit, not only will your physical health improve, but your mental health as well. This is especially helpful if your child struggles with anxiety or depression. When I see my child slip into a victim state and depression, I know right away that I need to help him shift his energy. I get him outside and run around the block with him. It’s incredible his mindset and energy when he get’s back from a mile or two jog. There’s no denying it. Movement improves mood.
Combat mental disorders
When I’m coaching a client to who has depression or anxiety, the first thing I help them accomplish is setting goals for more movement throughout their day. It’s amazing what the body can do when you’re feeding it good foods and exercising. I’ve seen many depressed people able to come off medications from truly taking care of their bodies and moving them. It’s not the case for everyone, but it’s helped thousands of people. It’s important to be consistent with it as well. Don’t try it once and say “that didn’t work for me.” Move your body vigorously every day for 30 days in a row, then come tell me about your results. Try jumping on a trampoline. You can’t help but smile as you’re bouncing up and down, and rebounding is excellent for moving the lymphatic system.
Does your family struggle with lack of movement? Could you use a family health coach to put you on the right path? Email me to set up a free discovery call. I can help you take your family from weak to warrior! firstname.lastname@example.org
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P.S – Does your family have a good workout routine? Post it in the comments below. I’d love to hear what your’e doing and how you’re taking your families health to a whole other level!