We asked Physical Education teachers at several Suwanee area elementary schools in Gwinnett County for tips on how to encourage physical activity at home. Read what they had to say.
Find an activity that your child truly enjoys
Try something that is fun that you can do together or even as a family. If it’s a chore, it will never last! Have fun exercising and participating in various sports and activities together.
Set An Example
As an adult, exercising and participating in recreational activities sets a great example for your kids. If your children watch you exercising and staying healthy, they will see it as important and want to join in. Be a great role model.
Let children experiment
A wide variety of many different activities and sports will keep your child interested longer and prevent burnout and overuse injuries. Keep exercise exciting and fresh
Get the heart rate up
Challenge each other to find exercises or activities that really get your heart rate up and that are fun for you. Families can do a quick heart rate check after different exercises with a simple “hand on your heart” or a two-finger pulse check on the side of their neck to determine the effectiveness or intensity of an activity. There are so many fun ways to stay active and be healthy as a family. Get up, get active and have fun!
Get outside and get active
Families can make fun and creative fitness obstacle courses using household items in their own backyards. If obstacle courses are not your thing, then create fun and silly relay races that the family can perform together. In addition, Suwanee has a plethora of parks and playgrounds around which provide many fun and health enhancing activities. Make a plan to visit one or several on a regular basis. I like to encourage families to use their imagination and creativity as well to develop unique tag games or activities that kids and families can play together. Kids can also use many activities or tag games learned in Physical Education class and teach them to family members.
Use commercial breaks as activity time
For children that enjoy watching TV or playing video games a little too much, I encourage using commercials as activity time. Simply pick some exercises that do not require much space or equipment such as push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, jogging in place, or jumping jacks (just to name a few) and create an exercise circuit that can be performed for a few seconds each exercise during commercial breaks.
Use hula hoops to build castles
Fun activities can be done with hula hoops. If you have six hoops you can build what we call castles. Kids can climb through them or knock them down. There are multiple things that can be done with a hula hoop.
The cone flipping challenge
At Level Creek, we play a take-off of the water bottle flipping challenge that uses the little orange cones that are used for different sports. The students flip them and try to get them to land straight up. This keeps them engaged and moving all the time. This activity could be done at home or outside with friends.
Use a website called GoNoodle.com
The site has videos that get kids moving. It is a great website and the kids love it. Parents can also use it at home and during the holiday breaks to keep the children moving.
Make a game out of nutrition
Create a points system for your family to earn points for eating healthy, drinking water and exercising. Have attainable rewards for points. Make sure the rewards are not sedentary or unhealthy, like watching TV, playing video games or eating junk food.
Keep an activity calendar
Keep track of any regular exercise or sports you participate in. Also write down regular activity that you do (ride your bike, go for a walk, jump on a trampoline, walking while grocery shopping, etc.)
Be realistic with your health goals
Start off small – set short-term goals and then long-term goals. Healthy lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight. They take time and effort to establish and maintain. Go slow and be consistent.
Measure by success
A person’s weight is never a good indicator of their health or fitness. Measure by how you feel and attainment of goals (being in a better mood, having more energy, higher self-esteem, accomplishments or awards).
Kids: be a role model for your parents
Make your parents want to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle because you want to.