There is a growing body of evidence that physical activity and healthy brains go hand in hand and that kids who are physically active are better able to focus and learn, have a stronger self-esteem, better memories, and yes, even an improved ability to cope with anxiety and depression.
You may have heard reports that the majority of kids 8-17 years old are not getting enough physical activity and too many are sitting too much, especially in front of screens. Let’s all work to change this! Read on to learn some steps to becoming a physically active family.
Research shows that parents who value and model active behaviour are more likely to have kids that do likewise and will carry that value with them into adulthood. Adults should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. This means activity levels which cause a person to breathe quickly or break into a sweat, such as brisk walking, bike riding, dancing, raking leaves, running or shovelling snow – they all count. Kids should accumulate at least 60 minutes per day.
Being active outdoors is good for the body, mind and soul! Being outdoors boosts the spirit and reduces stress. Get your kids out of the house, outside, for a walk or hike or bike ride together as a family. Talk with your family about planning an outdoor activity the whole family will enjoy such as visiting a community garden or local farm. Here’s a few suggestions:
They are watching you! Share your enjoyment of physical activity with your kids and bond by being active together:
Kids are not always aware of the many physical activities that are available close to home:
CSEP’s Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years) are the first evidence-based guidelines to address the whole day.