Exercise is not only good for kids’ bodies, but it’s great for their brains, too. Physical activity gets blood flowing throughout the entire body, and this has many benefits. Exercise has been shown to make kids happier, more confident, and can even help kids do better in school. Kids who are on the move also tend to sleep better too.
According to the CDC, kids between the ages of 6 and 18 should have an hour of exercise each day. So does that mean we need to get our kiddos a gym membership? Thankfully, no. The best kind of exercise doesn’t feel like exercise. It feels like fun! These are our five favorite ways to get families off the couch and make exercise fun this summer:
- Go on a hike: Kids can get a healthy dose of movement by exploring the great outdoors. Look online to find kid-friendly hikes in your area. Usually, these sorts of trails will have a cool lookout or landform to see at the end of the hike. You can make it a quick hike, or if it’s not too hot, you can pack a picnic lunch and make it a whole-day outing.
- Take a walk: One great way to get kids moving is to simply take them for a walk. People don’t often think of walking as exercise, but it has all sorts of health benefits. Take your child on a walk to the store, around the neighborhood, or on a walk around a local park. Walking is also a great time to have a chat with your child and catch up with what’s going on in their life.
- Ride a bike: If you own bikes, take your kiddo on a kid-friendly bike path, such as one that circles around a park.
- Throw a frisbee: Take the whole family or a group of friends to play a game of frisbee at the park. It’s amazing how much moving you can do running to catch a frisbee.
- Splish Splash: Taking the kids for some fun in the water is a great way to get the wiggles out. Take them to the local community pool, to a nearby lake or beach, or even to a local waterpark. Kids will have a blast and wear themselves out at the same time.
Summer brings all sorts of opportunities to get moving, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and have some fun. Just don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen!
- CDC: “How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?”
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: “Exercise Before Class Improves Georgia Students’ Grades, Self-Esteem.”
- American Heart Association: “Physical Activity and Children.”
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: “Walking Can Improve Mood.”
- KidsHealth: “All About Sleep.”