Kids Need Exercise During Covid
As our couch dents deepen into craters and as our fingers curl into QWERTY keyboard claws, the at-home lifestyle continues into the great winter hibernation of 2020. While we prepare to seal away our families from the cold and COVID surges, indoor inertia becomes even more prevalent during our digital dormancies. Children enrolled in distance learning are especially experiencing recreational withdrawal with cancelled sports programs, absent recess and limited physical education. These routine outdoor escapisms allowed for kids to hang out with friends, boost social skills and partake in regular exercise. With these healthy habits missing and the added allure of virtual entertainment, young kids miss out on constructive physical activity.
Health Benefits of Staying Active
There’s no doubt that kids will be wound up this winter, caged in their house’s walls like a rogue pinball trapped in a snowglobe. This limitation can negatively normalize inactivity for younger kids, depriving them of the many mental and physical health benefits of regular exercise.
Immediate results of physical activity can improve sleep schedules and school performances, offering balanced breaks from screen time and recalibrated focus for assignments. Furthermore, body temperatures rise after exercise sessions which can help prevent bacteria growth and help fight off pesky winter time infections. Consistent activity can also provide lasting rewards like improved bone health and reduced risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
With the ongoing uncertainty of recreational resumption, kids can turn to pandemic modified exercise as a healthy outlet to deal with compounding mental stress. Getting your kids kinetic can reduce risks of mood disorders and anxiety, simultaneously boosting their self esteem and confidence. Once a pace is set for planned activity, well-being can steadily progress, routing neurological stimulation with exercise to make the process self-sustaining. Mental health benefits are especially beneficial for adolescents struggling with depression and concerningly higher rates of suicide. Establishing habits of physical activity can be a crucial catharsis for teens caught in this sedentary span of life.
Ideas for Encouraging Exercise
Generally, kids only achieve 25% of recommended daily physical activity and that number can only plummet during a pandemic. Roughly 60 minutes a day are advised for maintaining sufficient physical health. Sparking enthusiasm for exercise can be initially tough, but it may be helpful to set limits on your children’s screen time exposure to break up the monotony of digital dependency.
Incorporating the interests or hobbies of your kids into exercise can also spur eagerness and establish correlative gusto for staying mobile. Video games can be a great way to bridge this gap; compromising established in-home hobbies with physical activity. Family friendly Nintendo consoles provide several gamified exercise options with their new Switch Ring Fit Adventure game or their dependable Wii Fit and Sports series. TikTok can also be a great way to disguise exercise, providing creatively choreographed dances for kids to practice and a social outlet to interact with friends.
Exercising can also involve the whole family as a way to make lasting memories and establish healthy habits. In accordance with CDC guidelines, families could embark on regular hikes beyond their neighborhood or take bike trips to safely explore new outdoor spots. Regular pet walks around the neighborhood also make for convenient daily rituals of activity. Trampolines are another fun consideration for younger kids to expel abundant energy and they are useful for hands-off entertainment when parents want to unwind. Weight lifting and routined fitness workouts could be tested with older children in the adolescent age range to substitute a lack of organized sports. Remember, even introducing small amounts of exercise can greatly improve your family’s well-being, so don't be discouraged by slow starts or busy days!
Editor: Matthew Hobbs