A Great Time to Get Outdoors

This spring is a great time to get the whole family moving by incorporating physical activities into your lifestyle. Read our ideas on how to exercise both body and mind!

According to http://kidshealth.org/,10% of 2 to 5 year olds and more than 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight. Studies show that children who are overweight are more likely to become obese in adulthood, which increases their risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and other chronic disorders.

With childhood obesity a growing health issue, there is no better time than the present to engage your children in daily physical activity. Physical activities not only exercise the body, they exercise the mind! Physical fitness improves a child’s ability to focus on tasks which helps him learn better. It also provides a healthy outlet to alleviate stress and builds self confidence as your child masters a new skill.

Steven Anderson, M.D., chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness, recommends that children ages 2 and up participate in 20-30 minutes of continuous aerobic activity, 3-5 times per week. Keep your child motivated by following these tips recommended by the National Safety Council:

  • Make exercise fun.
  • Set a good example.
  • Exercise with your children.
  • Turn off the television.
  • Look beyond organized sports.

You do not need a gym membership or fancy equipment to incorporate exercise in your child’s daily routine. Here are some easy and fun activities that children and adults can enjoy together:

For younger children

  • Blowing and chasing bubbles.
  • Dancing
  • Hopping/skipping
  • Beanbag toss
  • Chase games

For older children

  • Hiking
  • Running/walking
  • Hopscotch
  • Jump rope
  • Throwing and catching a ball or frisbee

With a little creativity, you can make these physical activities academically challenging. Decorate a ball with letters and ask your child to say a word that starts with the first letter he sees when he catches the ball. Count out loud while jumping rope. Use measuring tape to measure how far a bean bag was tossed. Go for a walk and play a game of I Spy. The possibilities are endless!

Physical Education Book Recommendations

If you would like more information on physical education, our Calvert Education Counselors recommend the following books:
The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Guide by Guy Bailey

The Complete Handbook of Indoor and Outdoor Games for Young Children by
Jean R. Feldman, Ph.D.

Fit Kids!:The Complete Shape-Up Program from Birth through High School by Kenneth Cooper and William Proctor

Fun Physical Fitness for the Home by Sono Sato Harris