Children have another month before they’re back to school and summertime is a great season to get kids outdoors and active. It can sometimes be a struggle to get children away from technology to spend more time outdoors practicing activities and sports, however it is so important to keep them physically active and set themselves up for success in the future, including good musculoskeletal health.
Children aged 5–11 should participate in at least one hour of physical activity each day to help build strong bones and muscles. But sometimes getting children interested and motivated to go out and play is easier said than done.
Here are some tips to help get children up and moving:
- Encourage frequent walks or even biking adventures around the neighbourhood
- Get active as a family
- Ask them to help you carry the groceries
- Have them help with garden work
- Play some tunes and host a dance party outdoors
- Join community, recreational sports team(s)
- Take kids to the playground or to the park to play
There are numerous benefits to active living for the young and old: it improves self-esteem, the health of the cardiovascular system, bones and muscles, as well as posture; it also encourages healthy growth and development. Outdoor activities are also a great way to get children to socialize and meet new friends.
To meet the suggested daily requirements, children aged 5–11 years should minimize the time they spend being sedentary each day. This may be achieved by limiting recreational screen time to no more than two hours per day; being less sedentary is associated with additional health benefits. Also, consider limiting sedentary (motorized) transport, extended sitting, and time spent indoors throughout the day.
Consider signing children up for summer programs that involve physical activity and get them involved in summer team sports. Another great way to teach children the importance of physical activity is to do something active as a family as often as possible—whether you go for a bike ride or play a game of soccer together. Setting an example is the best way to show children to the importance of physical activity.
You can also download the Straighten Up Canada app for easy-to-follow videos that demonstrate simple activities and exercises that can be done anywhere.
References 1Public Health Agency of Canada. Physical Activity Tips for Children (5–11 Years)L Tips to Get Active. Modified April 25, 2012. Accessed May 30, 2016. https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/05paap-eng.php