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How much daily exercise does your kid need to stay healthy during lockdown?

10 June 2020 - 09:19 By Sanet Oberholzer
Having a dance party in your living room is a fun way to get you and your kids moving.
Having a dance party in your living room is a fun way to get you and your kids moving.
Image: 123RF/ Aleksandr Davydov

Life under lockdown hasn’t been very conducive to following a healthy, active lifestyle. While children are starting to go back to school, it might be some time before they are able to participate in their favourite team sports again.

That's why Anca Wessels, a Momentum Multiply expert in biokinetics and sport massage therapy, believes parents should encourage their children to continue doing workouts at home - even once they go back to school.

“Physical activity is very important for all of us, but especially so for kids and young people,” says Wessels. “In addition to improving their cardiovascular fitness, strengthening their bones and muscles, and reducing the risk of heart disease, creating healthy habits around physical activity from a young age will stay with your kids throughout their lives, setting them up for a healthier future.”

As a parent, you're probably wondering just how much exercise your child needs to stay healthy, as well as how you can help them get enough of it at home.

Wessels is of the opinion that children and teenagers between the ages of 6 and 17 need a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. She says a combination of aerobic movements, strengthening exercises and stretches is necessary to ensure all their muscles are being exercised.

For younger children, including 'props' in different shapes and colours can help to get them excited about exercising

Examples of good cardio exercises include skipping, dancing, jumping jacks and hopscotch. Squats, push ups, sit ups, handstands and wheelbarrow walks are good strength exercises, while you can get your children to do tree poses, frog poses or forward bends for stretching exercises.

Wessels encourages parents to be creative in setting up at-home workouts. For younger children, including "props" in different shapes and colours can help to get them excited about exercising.

"A great idea is to attach strings to different coloured socks or balloons and hang them at different levels from the ceiling or outside patio. Play a game of jumping or punching to touch all the different heights," she says.

If you’re the parent of a teenager, you'll know that it may take more effort to tear them away from their screens. You might want to try and incentivise stubborn teens to get them moving, suggests Wessels.

"Set up weekly goals for them to complete and they earn rewards such as cash or treats for being healthy, active and safe."

If you’re in need of inspiration for kid-friendly workouts, Wessels recommends checking out the following online resources:


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