The new school year is a great time to start new healthy habits. And those habits can have some pretty impressive academic rewards: Did you know that kids who are physically active get better grades? Not only that, but regular physical activity for kids is also linked to a lower risk of obesity and diabetes, and higher self esteem.
According to the CDC, children should aim to get 60 minutes of activity a day. Meet your activity goals together by trying these easy fitness tips as a family.
Take a walk: Taking a walk is an easy activity that the whole family can do together. Let's Move! recommends taking a walk together after dinner. The American Heart Association has a whole website dedicated to encouraging you to incorporate 30 minutes of walking into your day. Everybodywalks.org has a new app that helps you find walking paths and track paths you’ve already taken. The American Heart Association also has a guide to help you identify new walking paths in your neighborhood.
Get outside: Let's Move! has a helpful guide to help you find parks, playgrounds, and forests near you, as well as suggestions for activities you can do outside. Britian's National Trust came up with a list of 50 activities kids should do outside before they turn 12. Check out the list for great ideas on outdoor activities; you can even use it as a goal and try to accomplish all 50 activities!
Try a new activity: Try something new together! Check out local community centers or gyms for free classes. Visit an ice rink or basketball court. Borrow a soccer ball or other sports equipment from a friend and find a place to play as a family. Trying new things together is a way to make family memories while making your physical activity routine more exciting and fun.
Take this advice from young athletes: A few weeks ago, the MomsRising radio show featured a few young athletes who shared some advice for young girls in sports. Here’s what they had to say:
Naima Bandele (Dancer, musician and junior high school Lacrosse player):
“I think no matter how tired they get with the sport, they should keep playing if they really love it. And if they don’t love it, they should try another sport just to stay healthy. They should keep trying no matter how difficult the sport gets and practice whenever they have the chance.”
--On the importance of determination in sports (At 55:00 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)
Anna Finkbeiner (Math superstar, designer, artist and junior high school athlete):
“Stay at your pace. If you’re doing a long run, you don’t just start sprinting, you jog most of the run. Doing sports makes me feel healthier and it’s easier to do stuff outside of school. Once you start moving, it gets easier to do other things.”
--On advice for young girls in sports (At 57:20 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537):
*LISTEN to the entire show here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537