Make exercise a fun, family activity 365 days of the year

fun run

An exciting event is taking place in Cape Town on Sunday 6th November, the “MySchool Move for Your Health” 6km Fun Walk/Run, to encourage parents and kids to start or continue exercising. But that’s just one day, WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER 364 DAYS OF THE YEAR?

They are equally important! This event is a match that ignites your enthusiasm to be active every day for the rest of your lives! Scary statistics detailing the levels of overweight and obesity in young South African children have been in the news over the past few weeks.

To substantiate this – the 2010, Healthy Active Kids Report Card published by a panel of health scientists noticed an increase in overweight and obese children, to 20% and  5% respectively- when compared to a similar report in 2007 where overweight prevalence was 17% and obesity was 4%. This trend is very worrying!

So let’s tackle this problem head-on and implement the 10 practical suggestions to increase activity levels and decrease time spent on cell phones, and in front of screens (yes parents – that is YOU too!)

  1. Look in the mirror…what you see is what your kids see? Is that a healthy, active adult? The most effective way of positively shaping your kids lives – is by example. Research shows that lifestyle habits developed during childhood, are highly likely to persist in adulthood.
  2. Get your child involved and brainstorm ideas for fun 10 – 15 minute exercise options you can do together or they can do alone. Paste these ideas on the family fridge.
  3. Try to ensure that your children accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity almost every day (it can be done in 10 – 15 minute chunks). If they are currently totally sedentary – then shoot for 30 minutes.
  4. Why not keep a weekly log of BOTH your and their activity? You could even make it into a fun, family competition with a fun prize given at a festive season family function.
  5. Have an ACTIVITY BASKET in your house where you keep tennis balls, skipping ropes, Frisbees, bats, a soccer ball etc. so that these are always readily accessible for activity.
  6. Be an active user of this equipment and find 10 – 15 minutes every day to play with your kids.
  7. Cut television and video watching, cell phone use and playing computer games, to less than 2 hours per day.
  8. Choose an event towards which the family can train.
  9. When it comes to birthdays and Christmas – give gifts that encourage activity – fun stuff for the pool, a skateboard or if you are feeling very generous – a bicycle!
  10. Start thinking NOW – how you can be active over the holiday and festive season – get your kids to brainstorm fun ideas too.

For those of you in Cape Town, join us at 06h45 on Sunday 6th November at the Western Province Cricket Club (registration from 05h00) for a fun-filled morning. The event is a joint initiative of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA), Western Province Cricket Club Running Section, Woolworths, MySchool, Let’s Play and the City of Cape Town.

For more information visit.

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