Children in Australia are among the least active in the world, according to a study carried out by researchers from the University of Western Australia and Imperial College, London. Over 90% of girls and 87% of boys don’t meet the recommended activity targets, and 70% of adults live a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. If these statistics have shocked and surprised you, and you’re keen to make sure that your family bucks the trend, here are some simple steps you can take today to get your bodies moving.
Banish bad habits
We all know that our children learn from us. From the moment they make an appearance in the world, they have their beady eyes on us, picking up habits and learning new things like sponges. If you don’t have healthy habits, there’s a good chance your children will develop them too. If you’re guilty of taking the car out when the store is only a few minutes walk away, or you take the escalator every time instead of the stairs, your kids will follow suit. If you are looking to boost activity levels, start with breaking these habits, and make simple changes that will enable you to gradually become more active. Walk more, take your bikes out instead of the car, and use the stairs instead of the lift. Every little helps.
Try new activities as a family
If you tend to spend family time watching films or playing video games, why not switch things up and try some new activities? There are myriad options you can try as a family, and you might find that you love being more active and that you set a precedent for years to come. You could go hiking, kayaking or rock climbing. You could learn to street dance or skateboard. You could play hockey, golf, cricket or tennis or even try and master the art of trampolining. As long as your heart is pumping, you’ll benefit both physically and mentally.
Schedule activity sessions
Many parents blame a lack of time for not doing enough exercise. The truth is that it’s almost always possible to make time to be more active. Just a few minutes a day can make a difference, so start scheduling activity sessions and use the time you do have available wisely. Take the dog for a walk together, ride your bikes to school instead of taking the car and look into group sessions and activities available in your local community. You might find that there are activities that are suited to every age, or that you can do adult and child classes at the same time in the same place.
Make exercise fun
Some kids love sports, and all they want to do is run, ride, jump, hop and skip all day, every day. For others, the idea of playing games is not so appealing. If your children don’t take to exercise, try and make it as fun as possible. Walking, for example, might not be the most exhilarating activity for kids, but you can make it interesting by doing a nature-themed quiz, visiting a nature reserve or a national park or letting your kids lead the way with the map. Or why not book them in for a program from the Skills and Thrills website to try something new and potentially get them moving!