They’re playing basketball, soccer and football, but experts say it’s not enough.
It might depend on the sport and the club or program your kid attends, but a recent study out of Kansas State University states that kids aren’t getting enough moderate to vigorous exercise each day simply by going to an hour-long sports practice.
The problem is that a lot of the time spent at a practice for an organized sport is actually taken up sitting and listening to a coach’s instructions. In fact, experts have found that in an hour-long practice, only about 20 minutes or 30% of the time is spent participating in heavy activity.
Don’t misread the message here. Participating in an organized sport is definitely a great way for your kid to learn new skills, make a bunch of great friends and practice team building. It’s simply that from a physical standpoint, you should probably supplement your child’s activity, instead of relying on that practice for a full hour of vigorous movement.
According to researchers, kids should have about 40 minutes of unstructured activity time outside of organized practices each day.
What’s the best way to promote that? Here are 5 great ways to get your kids up and active on their own.
1) Go to the Playground
Even adolescents can benefit from a visit to the local playground, especially if they’re going in a group.
It seems to take about 30 seconds for active youth to find a way to organize a creative game of tag, once they’re given the opportunity. There’s a slide to climb up and monkey bars to sit on top of, to evade the chaser? All the better.
2) Get a Trampoline
A lot of parents aren’t enthusiastic about investing in a trampoline, because of safety concerns. These are valid. If you can find a way to make sure your kids are using their trampoline safely though, it can be a great source of creative exercise and fun.
3) Invest in Skipping Ropes, Balls etc.
If you have engaging outdoor play equipment on hand in your backyard or garage, kids will use it. (Usually).
Visit your local sports store and pick up a basketball, some Frisbees, hula hoops, skip-its, you name it, and have it all in an easily accessible place that your kids can help themselves to when you tell them to go play outside.
4) Keep Your Bikes Tuned
If the chain is rusty and falling off, it can be hard to pick up a bike and go for a spin. Keep your family bicycles in good shape by taking them to the local bike shop each spring for a tune up. This way you can rest assured that the breaks really do work and that the seat isn’t about to fall off.
If you’re like me, and picking up bikes at garage sales, you’ll know what I mean.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep kids active, once getting outside becomes a go-to answer for them.
Provide the right tools and the rest is up to them. Let the creativity soar, and they’ll be getting enough physical activity in no time.
Photo credits: Wavebreak Media Ltd/Bigstock; sonyae/Bigstock; elenathewise/Bigstock; holbox/Bigstock; mediavn/Bigstock;karelnoppe/Bigstock