The summer school holidays are fast approaching and a great way to keep kids entertained this summer is to get them active! Longevity Exercise Physiology and Personal Training Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville and Randwick have put together some suggestions as to how you can get children and adolescents, as well as yourself as a parent or carer, moving more these holidays.
Why should you prioritise physical activity?
A report published by the World Health Organisation has found alarming new statistics that 89% of young Australians do not meet current recommendations of at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day (1). Additionally, Australia was one of the worst performers in the global report in terms of meeting physical activity guidelines: Australia ranked 140 out of 146 countries.
Physical activity is an essential component of developing children’s physical, social and mental well-being. When healthy habits are formed at a young age, they are much more likely to continue these habits into adulthood and subsequently prevent chronic diseases in adulthood.
What can you do?
Plan activity and Set Goals
Just because school stops and the normal routine changes, doesn’t mean children and parents activity should stop. On the Sunday before a new week starts, write up a weekly plan of when you and your kids will exercise, including what time and what activity you will be doing.
Setting goals as a family is another great way to keep the whole family on track. For example, can you set a goal to do at least one 30-minute walk together per week, hit 10,000 steps per day, or spend less than 2 hours per day occupied in sedentary screen time?
Get active together
Being active as a family is motivating, strengthens relationships and ensures everyone is getting their exercise in for the day. There’s nothing like a trip to the local playground or taking a ball along to the local park to give you a good run around and get your heart rate up! Other ideas are to go for family bike rides, visit the local tennis or netball courts, or take a trip to the local pool or beach. The school holidays are also a great time to introduce the kids to the gym. Book an individual or paired session with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, or you can also purchase a casual visit to take them along with you.
James conducting a gym based circuit at Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology Edgecliff
Research what’s on in your area
Lots of sport clubs run holiday camps or programs, often with the option of doing one day or a whole week of sport, such as basketball, soccer or cricket. A lot of dance schools also run holiday workshops, allowing kids to try new styles or keep their skills and flexibility up during the break.
Some gyms also run holiday programs. For example, the team at Hive Active, where Longevity Lindfield is located, is running Teen CrossFit sessions for 3 weeks from January 6th-24th. These sessions are 55 minutes each and are a combination of functional movements, metabolic conditioning, strength and mobilisation. For more information visit the Hive Active website.
Hive Active’s kids classes. Photo courtesy of Hive Active.
Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour for Children and Young People (5-17 years) is to:
- Accumulate 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day involving mainly aerobic activities.
- Several hours of a variety of light physical activities.
- Activities that are vigorous, and strengthen muscle and bone, should be incorporated at least 3 days per week.
Keeping active in the school holidays is not only a great way to keep kids engaged, but it’s also a great opportunity for them to learn a new sport or further develop their skills in a chosen activity whilst they are not in school and have more time.
The Accredited Exercise Physiologists at Longevity are also able to prescribe effective exercise interventions that are individualised to children’s abilities and physical activity needs. If you would like more help getting your child or children moving well and more these school holidays, then get in contact with the team at Longevity on 1300 964 002.
Written by Courtney Maher