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13 ways to get your kids to go viral with physical activity!


Did you know?


Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. It is a fundamental means of improving physical and mental health.

Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful in the sense that the improvement or maintenance of one or more components of physical fitness is the objective.

· Only 1/3 of European young people aged 11, 13 and 15 years reported enough physical activity to meet current guidelines.

· In most countries, boys were more active than girls and activity declined with age in both sexes.

· According to the Health Survey for England, only 21% of boys and 16% of girls met physical activity recommendations in 2012.

· The trend in the European Region is towards less activity, not more.


Clearly our goal with our children is to increase Physical Activity including exercise and other activities involving bodily movement such as playing, working, active transportation, house chores and recreational activities. Of course, we will aim to find appropriate, motivational activities that non only help children grow, maintain strong bones, a healthy weight, and other health benefits, but also to discover the world and have fun!

This week we will focus on 13 tips for 5-12 year olds:

1.    Talk! Your child's doctor can help your child understand why physical activity is important and perhaps suggest a sport or activity that is suitable. Alternately, provide some books, look at Youtube or talk about this infographic.

2.    Be a role model! Children who regularly see their parents enjoying sports and physical activity are more likely to do so themselves. For tips to motivate yourself, read “Go-Go instead of Yo-Yo”, it’s never too late or early to start!

3.    Make time! Some children are so overscheduled with homework, music lessons, and other planned activities that they do not have time for physical activity.

4.    Enjoy it! Help your child find an activity that he or she enjoys since the more we enjoy an activity, the more likely we are to continue to do it. Support your kids in trying various sports, clubs or other activities that interest them. Surf the net with your child to find options in your area.

5.    Be safe! Ensure a safe environment by providing appropriate, comfortable clothing and by controlling any equipment and chosen site.

6.    Provide active toys! Kids love balls, bikes, jump ropes, badminton, scooters or skates and some places even propose rented or used equipment.

7.    Do a challenge together! Working towards a fun run or a walk for charity is a great way to bond and do good. Look on-line to find about more in your local area.

8.    Plan active weekend and / or holiday time! Involve the entire family in a beach, bike, hike, skate or ski holiday or chose your own by reading more about healthy holidays.

9.    Forget the car! Walk or cycle to and from school, post-office, local activities or shops with the kids as often as possible.

10.  Take the dog (or dad) for a walk! If you don't have one of your own, ask to borrow one!

11.  Limit screen time to 1 to 2 hours per day! Children aged 5 to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen! Limited screen time is especially critical in the hours before bedtime to improve sleep quality but can also help improve energy and activity levels during the day.

12.  Don’t overdo it! When your child is ready to start, remember to tell her to listen to her body. Exercise and physical activity should not hurt and if this occurs, your child should slow down or try a less vigorous activity.

13.  Praise! Encourage your child for any positive steps he takes toward being more physically active or healthier.


If you have teens, look for my next article 11 Ways to get unfit teens to go viral on activity. Remember, physical activity along with a balanced diet provides the foundation for a healthy, active life. If you are struggling to get your kids to eat a healthy diet, check out last month’s articles 7 Ways to Inspire Kids Healthy Eating Habits!  and  Back-to-SSSSSchool Food!