Many studies have found that children who participate in physical activity (including school-mandated physical education classes) are twice as likely to lead healthy, active lifestyles when they grow up to adulthood.
The big question is, how do we motivate children to be active?
In a world where so much sedentary entertainment is available (video games, computer programs, social media, and television), how can we make physical activity more appealing?
We here at Carone learning believe that the first step is just getting kids to try more.
This may seem too obvious to even mention, but we’re more likely to sustain certain habits if we enjoy them! The problem is that few people put this principle to work when it comes to physical fitness. In fact, often we believe that if we are enjoying it, we’re probably not doing a good enough job. The truth is, physical activity–especially for children!–should be an enjoyable activity, not a chore. Limiting ourselves to thinking that exercise is just about weight machines and treadmills robs us of the most beneficial effects of exercise.
Here are some suggestions for physical education activities that have the power to persist through to adulthood:
- Team sports: Sports like soccer and basketball have numerous health, social, and mental benefits. For one thing, we’re more motivated to succeed when we have healthy peer pressure and a team who relies on us performing our best. For another, team sports build interactive skills in children. Although many people drop sports as they grow to adulthood, most communities have sports programs that welcome adult players.
- Dance: When we’re young, we’re natural dancers. While dance can be a field in which anxiety and pressure tend to be compounded, dance is also one of the most common exercises that we persist in as we grow to adulthood. A love of movement, dancing, and expression can translate into a lifelong healthy habit.
- Outdoor activities: While many children are unwilling participants in activities like hiking, family memories with parents often have the power to come back in a good way as they get older. If you want to spark a love of the outdoors in your children, consider different activities that can be challenging and stimulating for them; things like open water swimming, rock climbing, and boating. Additionally, consider turning hikes into something more like “nature walks” of exploration, in which kids can climb trees, identify plants and animals, and blaze their own trails.
- Independent sports: For kids who don’t seem to connect to team sports like baseball and soccer, consider introducing them to more independent sports. Things like tennis, golf, and swimming can all strike a deep chord in children who like the challenge of competition, but don’t like the pressure of a team. Additionally, many independent sports like skiing, snowboarding, rollerblading, or skate boarding, can be done for fun, with no connection to competition.
- Martial arts: What’s great about martial arts is that it’s not just physically demanding and challenging enough to develop significant skills in focus and discipline… it’s also undeniably cool. Most kids will love the atmosphere and the cultural exploration that comes with martial arts.
Our phys ed programs help children explore different avenues of physical health that aren’t usually covered in standard school curriculum. Your children have the freedom to explore and find that thing that will work for them; something that they’ll love, be motivated to do, and persist in for a lifetime of health and fitness.
Contact us today to learn more about our programs!