Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Importance of Movement in Children and a Competition with Reima

Sketch style photo of a child playing basketballThe title of this post may sound like an obvious statement, but, as with all parenting essentials, it's surprisingly easy to take your eye of the ball (sorry about the pun) and find that physical activity has gone by the wayside. Particularly as the nights draw in and the weather turns colder and wetter, you may find the family as a whole favouring the warmer indoors and getting less exercise as a result. Obviously, it's less safe for children to be outside when the evenings are dark, so how can we make sure movement and fitness are part of life and not something we have to remind ourselves to do? 


Produced in association with Reima

The way we live our lives as a family gives our children a good idea how they will live their lives as adults, so there are some habits we need to practice to ensure our children grow up healthy and happy. Things like eating vegetables, drinking water, not farting in lifts, etc. We don't want to be responsible for our offspring being overweight, unhealthy, or anti-social, so we try to be good role models. There has been a lot of press recently about this generation growing up to be a nation of couch potatoes and it's certainly been on my mind that I don't want to raise a sofa spud. Reima, who specialise in fitness trackers to encourage activity in children, have launched a competition challenging children all around the world to move more. If you have a ReimaGO sensor for your child, you can enter through the app but, if not, you can enter your child by inputing their activity hours on the Reima Kidventure site, where you will also find more information about the #millionhoursofjoy campaign. The top prize is a trip to Finnish Lapland!

Child playing badminton


 I don't want exercise to be a chore, I want it to be as natural as sleeping or playing Pokemon GO. It's not easy, though, because L gets the bus to school now so I don't have the option to park the car further away and walk the last bit. It's not even far to the bus stop, just a few minutes away, which is great for safety, but not from a fitness perspective. So, I'm having to put a bit more thought into it. The most important aspect is to make fitness fun and accessible, and this addition to our living room is a massive hit. We've had this mini trampoline (it's actually a rebounder, but the principle is the same) for a few years now and L still can't resist a good bounce and neither can any other children who visit. There's something strangely satisfying about bouncing and it burns 100 calories every 12 minutes, so adults can see the benefit too. I will admit, it's not the smallest of exercise equipment, but it's definitely the one that has proved the most used, compared to the space it takes up. As much as exercise equipment isn't the prettiest addition to a living space, the advantage of having it in the lounge is that it becomes part of daily life to use it, whilst watching TV, or being involved in general social interaction. It doesn't feel like effort, so it fits in with the idea not to make it seem like a chore, more like a natural part of life. 

Collage of images of a child bouncing on a rebounder


As young people get older, and start having opinions, it gets harder to ensure they are getting enough exercise. We live in the country, which you would think would be an advantage, with lots of natural environments to explore, but as children get more independent, they want to be walking to their friends houses or wandering into town to look round the shops, and can find greenery a bit uninspiring. I find it helps to create an incentive for getting out and about. Pokemon GO is an obvious example, but there's also Geocaching, which is like a treasure hunt. You use an app to find a hidden box in a specific location, then you will find small items which you can take, leaving some of your own, and a log book, where you record your details for posterity. Other hobbies on a smaller scale which make walking less of a chore include photography and bird watching, so there are lots of good reasons to get out and about. Some children just aren't outdoorsy though, in which case, the local leisure centre could have the answer. Our local leisure centre offers something for every ability, including snooker, and even offers gym membership from the age of 11, so there's a good chance there will be something to inspire even the least enthusiastic young fitness-goer! 

A boy at a snooker table


Those are my suggestions for keeping children active this winter, don't forget to enter the competition, for your chance to win great prizes. 

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12 comments

  1. I imagine this gets harder the older children get but at the moment I have a nearly 5 year old who just never stops and loves any type of physical activity. Great to see another parent taking exercise for children seriously.

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  2. That is so true - precisely the reason why we also try to lead by good example! Our daughter seldom sees us in front of the TV and we also try to be physically active as well as eat healthy :)

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  3. Great post, it sounds simple but it's so important. Sitting in front of a TV day and night is seriously detrimental to their health.

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  4. This is so important and I'm glad you've posted about it! Great to see you're taking exercise for children more seriously and not keeping them bunched up indoors!

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  5. I think this is a huge issue in older children who are leading much more sedentary lifestyles it's so important for them to be more active!

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  6. We love getting out and about with the family but it does get harder as they get older. We have got round this by signing the teen up to bouldering and parkour which he loves

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  7. So many fantastic ideas - I love the idea of Geocaching! It is so important to keep ourselves and our children active in a fun way :)

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  8. Great advice here. I need to ensure my kids remain active and healthy.

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  9. Ahh geogaching is such a great way to get exercise outdoors - you'll forget how much you're walking in the thrill of the hunt! Great tips here.

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  10. Yes it's right kids should be active, but like you said you want it to be natural so they carry it on and love it

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  11. What a great idea fitness trackers seem to be an innovative concept which will aid our new generation of couch potatoes 😁

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  12. We love getting out and about, my eldest is 5 and she loves being active. it can get harder as I've got toddler twins too. but yes, it is very important.

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