Physical Activity Routines for Back-to-School
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Did you know that before coronavirus, kids and teens spent an average of 7 hours a day on screen time? I can only imagine what the numbers would now (3)…
Many parents in Florida have felt that they've had a hard time getting kids off of their screens and "exercising."
But "exercise" is a word many have come to dread due to its negative connotation. Exercise is almost synonymous with diet culture, by focusing on exercising for weight loss.
However, as humans we are meant to move! When we stay in one position for two long our muscles start to shorten and we experience pain. If I sit for too long in one day, I start to get antsy and feel like my body just HAS to get moving.
According to the CDC and WHO(1,2), it is recommended that children receive about 60 minutes daily of physical activity with bone strengthening activities 3 a week for optimal overall health. However, this is only a generalized recommendation and parents should consider their child when trying to figure out how much physical activity is best for them.
Many parents are concerned that their child isn’t getting enough “exercise.” When I ask them what they are trying to do, they usually tell me they send their kid outside or have joined a gym.
Unfortunately, they are often met with resistance by their child.
That’s because their child doesn’t find "exercise" meaningful, motivating, or FUN. So, they don’t want to do it. Let's change that!
As I mentioned in the first couple posts of this series, now is the perfect time to start new movement routines! Since we haven’t completely fallen into a new school rhythm, there’s not as may habits we have to overcome! Also - I like using "movement" instead of "exercise" since it isn't associated with a negative meaning.
What you can do:
- Focus on setting aside a “movement time” each day, which makes it predictable for your child or teen. Make sure to pick a time that works best for you and your child. For example, if your child isn’t a morning person, maybe it’s better to do that movement at the end of the day.
- Take small movement breaks. Movement doesn’t have to happen all at once. Even 5 minute breaks throughout the day can make a difference
- Make it FUN! Make movement something you child looks forward to and is excited to do.
- Ask their opinion. Older kids and teens are in a stage where they are looking for some independence. Include them in the planning of movement activities, and they may be more excited to participate!
- Utilize online physical education (PE) or sports/movement classes.
Already tried most of these ideas and STILL having difficulty motivating your child? We offer FREE LIFESTYLE CONSULTS so you can discuss your personal situation and concerns.
If you try out these tips, please share it with us on social media @theOT4me! I enjoy seeing how you take these tips and make them work for your family!
Let’s make healthy fun,
Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2020). How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/index.htm
World Health Organization. (2020). Physical Activity and Young People. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_young_people/en/
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2019). Media and Children Communication Toolkit. Retrieved on September 3, 2019 from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx
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