Outdoor Activities to Encourage Kids to Exercise
Exercise for children offers benefits in addition to weight control, strong muscles and decreased risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Kids who are physically active also sleep better, have higher self-esteem and are often more energetic and motivated to do well in school. If your youngsters would rather stay indoors playing video games than workout, consider finding an activity that will make them want to leave the couch and play in the great outdoors.
While some children shy away from sports teams because they think they’re not athletic enough to compete, you should be able to find a league to suit their ability level through a school, community center or youth group. Participating in baseball, football, soccer or tennis, for instance, will help you raise active kids who are confident and enjoy active pursuits. Even children who don’t like competition will enjoy the fun and friendship they can find as part of an intramural league that emphasizes teamwork and skill building over winning. By starting off slowly, your child may even discover an affinity or talent for a sport that he continues to play competitively.
Although children will get plenty of cardiovascular exercise and complete body training while they swim, their time in the water will be so enjoyable they won’t feel like they’re working out. If you happen to live in a hot weather state such as South Carolina, many residents there look for swimming pool contractors in Charleston and can help you determine the size and style to suit your needs. A pool with a deep and shallow end, enough length for laps and even a diving board will enable your kids to spend time in the sun, hang out with friends and loved ones and build plenty of endurance and muscle strength in the process.
Even children who don’t like the idea of hiking will enjoy the treasure hunt aspect of geocaching. Because the hobby involves following clues using phone applications, GPS and Internet searches to find buried items, even the most devout indoor, video game-loving kids will be captivated. The journeys to reach the clues can take the family to local parks, nature center and city attractions all over the world. When your youngsters are trekking to various locations looking for the latest discovery, they may not realize how much they’re exercising.
Spend time with your children outside participating in a variety of entertaining challenges that will get them moving and improve their fitness level. Set up an obstacle course that enables them to compete against family or friends sprinting around poles, jumping through hula hoops, jumping through used tires, crawling under a series of ropes, hopscotching across a field and side stepping over a row of sticks, for instance. Bring a radio and play a game of freeze dance, play disc golf by having kids aim for poles or buckets set up around a park or try an old favorite like tag, capture the flag or follow the leader.
If your children enjoy working toward a goal, consider preparing them for a local long-distance run. Amusement parks, schools, city organizations and more often host running events for commemorative events and holidays such as the Fourth of July. Many award medals for completing the race and participants often earn t-shirts, ribbons or other gear just for participating. Analyze the amount of time before the occasion and the physical fitness level of your child before signing up for a distance – you may even want to register as a family for the 5k event, as many applicants at that length will simply walk for the enjoyment of it without worrying about time.
Uncovering the outdoor pastime to match your child’s athletic ability is half the battle. Whether it’s at a competitive level or simply a casual extracurricular activity, once he discovers the fun, friendships and sense of accomplishment that can come with exercise, he’ll be glad to incorporate it into his daily life.