#MoveInMay

“May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and we all know how important staying fit is not just for adults but for children, too. The Obama administration has created the #MoveInMay social media campaign to help crowd-source ways we can all get fit. But what if our kids aren’t really sports-minded? How can we motivate them to get that all important exercise? Here are 7 creative ways that you can encourage physical activity in kids that will keep them entertained even while they burn off extra calories and get some time out in the fresh air. 1. Get Your Gardening On Gardening is a great way to introduce young people to the delights of the outdoors, but it can also be quite strenuous. Yard work like raking leaves, filling wheelbarrows, and digging in the soil to make room to plant new flowers all provide plenty of opportunities for physical activity and for learning. To add some extra fun, if your child seems keen on gardening you could buy them their own set of gardening tools or offer them their own selection of seeds and show them how to garden. This also presents a wonderful opportunity to educate children about growing produce, whatever size garden you might have. To add even more fun, you cold make a game out of each stage of gardening too, from competitive wheel barrow races, to seeing who can water the most plants without wasting water. 2. Hold Your Own Dance Party Dancing is great exercise, and what’s more, it’s really fun. You needn’t go to much trouble. If you want to try to make it an event you could get a few of your child’s friends over, provide a few snacks, and turn up the music. But if you’d also like to integrate dance into your child’s daily routine, consider buying a dance workout DVD. This can provide great bonding time with your children and, if they take to it, it might lead to them becoming interested in pursuing dancing further in dance classes. Even if it doesn’t though, getting them moving and having a lot of fun for just half an hour to an hour a day will be reward enough. 3. Go on a Wildlife Watching Hike As the weather is starting to get better the prospect of getting out in nature is becoming more appealing. Hiking is a great way to exercise but it can be difficult for kids to get enthused about it. Turning a hike into a nature walk is one way of keeping kids interested. Giving them a pencil and paper pad each to log how many different insects, birds and small animals they see can help keep them engaged, all while they enjoy a lovely walk. 4. Be a Superhero in Your Local Park The park is a great area to exercise; from monkey bars to plenty of steps and climbing frames, there are so many opportunities for challenging and yet fun exercise. One way to really engage your child might be to help them dress up as their favorite superheroes or characters from books or films and have them act out scenes with you, while you lead the play through the park, making them climb, run and jump. This way they get plenty of opportunity to stretch their legs while also using their imaginations. 5. Bike to Better Knowledge of Your Neighborhood Biking is a great way to enjoy exercise, and it’s an activity that most children like. One way to help kids get the most out of this activity is to give them a map and help them plan their journey. This helps to keep them engaged with the activity, but it also teaches them about using landmarks and directions. To ensure it doesn’t become too much of a thinking exercise instead of a chance to play, you could also put in a few fun destinations, like the park, or the comic book store, or anything that your children might enjoy. This is also a great opportunity to brush up on being street smart and road-safe, too, as well as a chance for some quality family time. 6. Swimming Is Great Fun and Exercise Swimming is a great low impact (but still challenging) workout, and getting your children interested in it from a young age can help them start a fitness habit early on in life. One way to take swimming up a notch is to include an inflatable ball and play a ball game while in the pool. Having small family races and competitions can also help ramp up the intensity for a safe and enjoyable workout. 7. Youth Yoga Provides Lots of Laughs and Great Benefits Yoga is great for adults but it can also be a really fun and beneficial exercise for young people that can be done anywhere from in the home to the backyard, or even while in a public space like the park. While some of the more complex or strenuous poses probably aren’t well suited for young people, there are plenty of poses that are sure to get your kids laughing while they exercise: for instance, tell a kid to do a downward facing dog and see them crack up. There are plenty of simplified yoga moves you could use–from polar bear pose to butterfly–that might get a giggle out of your children and ensure that, while still being a good workout, none of the exercises are too difficult.” From “7 Ways to Get Your Kids Exercising and Having Fun” By Steve Williams

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