American Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. However, less than 5% of adults and just 1 in three kids participate in 30 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis.
These are alarming statistics.
A healthy lifestyle is a habit that must be developed from an early age. Parents need to encourage their kids to be physically active. It is important for them to get away from screens and go outside to have fun.
Remember that your kids will follow your example more than following your advice. You cannot expect them to be physically active when you are living a sedentary lifestyle. If you are one of those “couch parents”, it is important for you and your family health to start some outdoor activities.
The following are some great outdoor activities which are healthy and don’t cost much.
The easiest and the healthiest way to have outdoor fun with your kids is to go jogging. You don’t need anything but a pair of running shoes. And you don’t have to wait for the weekends or holidays to spend some time out with your kids.
Running has an incredibly long list of benefits. It includes physical benefits like endurance building, cardiovascular health, weight loss, and mental benefits like determination, positivity, self-esteem, and creativity.
And they will also perform better academically. What could be better?
If you are living in a city with easy access to hiking tracks, it can be a great experience and something your kids will cherish for a long time.
Hiking offers all the benefits of physical activity with the added perk of scenic beauty. Hiking will build self-confidence and improve agility and balance in kids.
It is also a great way to break free from screen addiction and get closer to nature. Research confirms that walking in nature can significantly decrease the risk of depression.
There are some precautions, though. Do some research and choose an easy and family-friendly trail. Make it a daytime trip. Take something to eat and drink and use insect repellents. You will also need a hiking stroller if there’s a toddler in the family.
3. Going to a park:
If you are not looking for a vigorous activity like hiking or running, simply visiting a nearby park or playground can be incredibly healthy. Parks encourage a healthy lifestyle. Research confirms that people are more likely to exercise if they are living near a park.
Even if you are not doing any exercise, the time spent in the park will lower your blood pressure and improve your health perception. It is also good for your mental health. You will feel more relaxed and relieved.
Parks are good for social interaction which has a number of health benefits. Your kids will meet kids in the neighborhood and make new friends. It will improve their self-esteem and they will do better at school.
The best part is that visiting a park doesn’t cost a dime.
4. Riding a bike:
In a recent study, researchers found that cycling boosts brainpower in children.
Riding a bicycle is a lot of fun and it can be a great exercise for parents. It helps you lose weight, builds leg muscles, and boosts immunity. Plus, you can explore the neighborhood or visit some of your family members who live nearby.
Just make sure your kids are wearing the helmet and safety gear. Do not take them on busy roads. You can easily find a safe trail or street in the neighborhood.
Activities like hiking or cycling will need a certain level of fitness for parents. If you are looking for an activity you can do in your own courtyard, then gardening is a great option. It is something that even the grandparents can do.
Research suggests that gardening is better than any other leisure activity when it comes to stress management. The researcher, Andrea Faber Taylor, a horticulture instructor, and researcher at the University of Illinois suggests that “trading your BlackBerry for blackberry bushes is an excellent way to fight stress and attention fatigue. As the rhythms of the natural environment and the repetitive, soothing nature of many gardening tasks are all sources of effortless attention”.
It will be a great learning experience for your kids. They will enjoy the activities like digging holes, sowing seeds, and watering the plants. They will look forward to seeing them grow and bear fruit.
Gardening doesn’t cost much; given you have some free space at home. It can also offer a great return on investment. For example, you can grow some vegetables like tomatoes, peas, spring onions, or garlic.
About the author:
Sadi Khan is a competitive runner and research analyst at RunRepeat.com, the site that helps you find the best sports shoes at least possible price.