Gasol Foundation is committed to improving the eating and lifestyle habits of children, adolescents and their families. For this reason, through our projects in the US, Spain and on our social media channels (with the hashtag #HealthyChallenge), we will share healthy living advice for children, adolescents and families to promote the importance of physical activity -specially for children.
Regular physical activity improves health and reduces the risk of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. Although children and adolescents are generally more active than adults, many still do not meet the recommended requirements for physical activity
For children and young people, physical activity can include things such as general movement, games, sports, chores, recreational activities, physical education, or planned exercise in the context of family, school, and community. Children and youth ages 5-17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate – to high-intensity physical activity daily.
Introduce physical activity early in your child’s life
- Whenever possible, indulge your child’s interest in physical activity – for example, kick the ball with them when they ask.
- Show your child how to perform basic sporting skills, such as ball throwing, skipping and jumping. Research suggests that children whose basic skills are poor to begin with tend to avoid sports.
- Take them to the local playground and help them use the equipment. Have a go yourself – slides and swings are fun, and you are likely to play longer with your child if you are enjoying yourself too.
- Try out different sports in age-appropriate classes.
- Make sure some family outings are physically active.
- Include your child in physical activities at home, such as gardening, washing the car or house cleaning.
- Walk or bike short distances instead of taking the car. Kids can even do so on the way to school.
- Take your child for regular walks around the neighborhood.
Tips to get – and keep – my child active?
As a parent, you can help shape your child’s attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity. Starting from a very young age, you must constantly encourage them to become both physically fit and active. Activities can range from informal movements and play, to organized sports. Here are some helpful tips you can use in order to motivate your child to adopt an active lifestyle:
- Set a positive example by living an active lifestyle yourself. Active parents tend to raise active children. It is you that influences your child’s behavior, attitudes, and future habits. Be more active and limit your own time being sedentary, and hopefully your child will do the same.
- Make physical activity part of your family’s daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together.
Some fun activities for the family that don’t feel like exercise include:
- Flying a kite at the park or beach
- Dancing to your favorite music
- Riding bicycles along the river or on bike paths
- Playing a family game of table tennis
- Swimming at the local pool
- Walking the dog
- Throwing a frisbee
- Rollerskating, rollerblading or skateboarding (insist that everyone wears appropriate safety equipment)
- Provide children with equipment that promotes physical activity. For instance, instead of purchasing a video game, buy a soccer ball instead..
- Take young people to places where they can be active, such as public parks, community baseball fields or basketball courts.
- Be positive about the physical activities in which your child chooses to participate in and encourage them to be interested in new and different activities and sports.
- Focus on fun, not performance. All children like to play. They will win when they move, have fun, and are active on a daily basis.
- Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything your child enjoys. Activities can range from team sports or individual sports, to recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities or free-time play.
- Instead of watching television after dinner, encourage your child to discover fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family.
- Be safe! Always provide protective equipment such as helmets, elbow pads and knee pads.
On April, don’t forget to move more everyday! #HealthyChallenge