10 ways to get kids moving

Regression in childhood physical activity levels in most of the developed world continues to be a significant concern for the future health and welfare of our community. Hills et al concluded in 2011 that in many Western settings, a large proportion of children and adolescents do not meet recommended physical activity guidelines and that physical activity behaviours have been replaced by more sedentary pursuits with resultant reductions in energy expenditure. Indeed, it is hypothesized that the average child now walks 2000 fewer steps (approx. 2km) per day that is required for them to avoid becoming overweight in adulthood.

“It is hypothesized that the average child walks approx. 2000 less steps than is required to prevent them becoming an overweight adult”

trackstars Lake Monger

Until recent generations, children enjoyed far greater creative license with play and physical activity. Our parents and grandparents had far less technology, much greater perceived safety and with that came more activity and space to explore. This allowed greater physical activity through a mix of practical realities, community confidence and more creative and engaging environments. For those interested in this topic, there is a great TEDx video from former Perth Wildcat, Griffin Longley on his childhood exploring Fremantle here.

So let’s get kids moving. Here are 10 great ways to help your children get more physical activity

  • Walk to school each day- this is a routine which is easy to establish and quickly becomes a great habit!
  • Join a sporting club- by signing up to a club your child gets physical and social development opportunities regularly each week.
  • Family walk to coffee shop for lunch or breakfast on the weekend.
  • Take equipment to the park- simply bringing a Frisbee, football or Nerf is a great way to get kids moving when at the park.
  • Get a basketball or netball hoop at home- by having equipment that is accessible for play children are much more likely to engage regularly and start setting goals.
  • Look good, feel good- a new shirt or shoes often gives some extra motivation to get moving.
  • Pedometer- everyone loves a challenge and kids will quickly start tracking their progress and setting goals once they are measurable.
  • Move to the beat- when music is upbeat it encourages movement and activity, add some energy to the environment!
  • Get a pet- kids love dogs and responsibility and every dog loves a walk!
  • Bushwalking- on weekends head for the hills. By finding an engaging natural environment, kids organically begin to explore and become more active.

Trackstars LM Stretching

As we look broadly at the long term projections on the effects that reduced levels of physical activity will have on the health and social welfare future generations, it is a pertinent time to look for practical solutions now the issue is well established and commonly agreed upon. When children become more active, positively re-inforcing the behaviour and creating a sustainable environment to continue to enjoy physical activity is a great place to start making changes.

Share with a friend and let’s get our kids fit and active.

Raf Baugh is a Physiotherapist and managing director of Front Runner Sports. Front Runner Sports is official Physiotherapy provider of Athletics WA and provides physiotherapy and exercise solutions, both individual and group, for clients of all ages and ability levels.