We all know that getting enough
exercise is key for maintaining good health.
It’s not just about building muscle
or reaching a healthy weight (although these things are very important) — it’s
also about preventing disease and maintaining good mental health.
In fact, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) states that insufficient physical activity
is a key risk factor contributing to disease burden in Australia. Exercise
helps kids in lots of ways, from reducing their chance of developing type 2
diabetes and cardiovascular disease to promoting healthy growth and
According to the AIHW, 70% of children aged 2-17 didn’t meet the physical activity
guidelines in 2011-12, while 1 in 2 adults didn’t reach the physical activity
guidelines in 2017-18. These statistics show that we have a long way to go when
it comes to sitting less and moving more!
For kids aged 5-17, the recommendation is 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least three days
a week, with several hours of light activity each day.
Of course, there are lots of
opportunities for your kids to exercise during and after school through PE
classes and sports. Exercising as a family is a great way to help squeeze in a
few extra hours of activity every week while spending quality time together as
Here are a few fun ways to exercise
together as a family:
The great thing about walking is
that it can be as easy or as challenging as you like, from walking the dog
around the block to spending several hours on a challenging bushwalk.
If you have little kids or several
children with a significant age gap, it’s not always easy to think of ways of
exercising that suit everyone — but walking can easily be tailored to suit
A great way to further enrich a
walk is to visit wetlands, a bird park, or a national park. This gives you the
opportunity to look for different wildlife and learn about nature and the
creatures that live alongside us in our community.
An added bonus of walking is that
you can usually maintain a decent level of conversation, giving you more time
to bond as a family.
Trampolining is a great way to get
fit and have fun — and it’s not just for the kids! You might not always find
time to squeeze in a workout, but if you’ve got young kids, you’re most likely
supervising them on the trampoline anyway, so why not join them?
Jumping is a fantastic way to get
your heart rate soaring. While it’s a vigorous activity, it’s also low impact,
which means that it’s gentle on your joints.
Don’t have a trampoline at home?
There are lots of indoor trampoline centres that make a great family day out.
You don’t need to have a Ninja
Warrior course in your backyard to be able to enjoy an obstacle course. You can
set up a simple course using objects that you likely already have at home.
Lay hoola hoops on the grass as a
target for throwing a ball into, lay a ladder on the ground for jumping across,
use steps as hurdles; use your imagination to make it as fun as possible.
Skipping is a great way to increase
hand eye coordination and get your heart racing!
To make it a family activity, make
sure you get an extra long jump rope that can be held by one person on either
side with enough room for at least one person to jump. Take turns jumping for
as long as you can, increasing the pace as you go for an added challenge,
before you swap out and give the next family member a turn.
Everyone knows how to play tag —
and it’s just as fun with your kids as you remember as a child. Play in the
backyard or head to an oval to make the game more challenging.
For something a little bit
different, try sock tag: each of you tucks two socks into your waistband or
back pockets. The goal is to grab each others tags while protecting your own.
The person with the most socks by the end of the game.