Australia is currently dealing with an obesity epidemic. Two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight, but even more worryingly, close to 25% of Australian kids between the ages of 5 and 17 are now also overweight or obese.
Healthy habits are learned in childhood, which is why it’s so important to set your child up for success now- so that they can continue that success throughout their adult lives.
According to the World Health Organization, kids between the ages of 5 and 17 should be doing at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. This helps them develop neuromuscular awareness, a healthy cardiovascular system, and musculoskeletal tissue.
The World Health Association has found that not only is physical activity necessary for a healthy body, but it’s also crucial for a healthy mind. In fact, physical activity has been associated with improved symptoms of depression and anxiety in young people. It also helps build self-confidence, increases social skills, and makes it more likely that kids will say no to drug use, alcohol, and tobacco.
In an increasingly sedentary world, getting your kids away from the TV and off the couch, and cutting down on their overall screen time can be a challenging task. A recent study found that Australian kids aged 4-5 are averaging more than two hours of screen time each weekday. For 12-13-year-olds, this increases to more than three hours each weekday and almost four hours each weekend day.
So how do you get your child to pass up the screens for physical activity? One of the best ways is to ensure that the activity is fun and exciting.
Here are some ways you can increase the amount of activity your kids are getting each day:
Walk to School
If your kids live close enough to school, and you can adjust your work schedule, consider walking with them instead of taking the car. This is not just a great way to get some fresh air and exercise, but you’ll also be able to talk about your upcoming days on the way (without needing to focus on navigating rush-hour traffic).
Encourage Outdoor Play
If many kids could choose, they’d sit on the sofa and stare at a screen all day. It’s not their fault- it’s addictive. That’s why it’s important that parents limit the number of hours kids spend with a screen and encourage them to get outside.
Make Family Time Outdoor Time
Instead of watching a movie as a family, why not take advantage of a sunny day and get outdoors? Head to the beach, take a picnic to the park or find a short hike that will work for the whole family. The more that kids see an active lifestyle as the norm, the easier it will be for them to embrace this as part of their own lives as they get older.
Choose After-School Sports
Not only does sport give your kids something to look forward to, but it’s a great way to make physical activity a fun and expected part of life. Once kids have fallen in love with a sport, they’ll often continue with it throughout their high school and even university years. They’ll also usually be open to trying many other sports and are more likely to spend their free time practising and mastering the skills they need, instead of sitting on the couch.
Football is an excellent choice, because not only will your kids be getting active, but they’ll also be hanging out with their team members and learning new skills.
Kids are naturally competitive, and football requires a lot of stop-starting, ball-control, and fast movements. This means that they’ll need to spend time outside with a ball at their feet if they want to improve along with their peers and be more likely to win on game day.
Want to learn more about how football can help set your child up for success? Get in touch today.