Advice Column, Bonitas, Child, Health, Parenting

Keep your kids moving

Winter is here and with it comes colder weather, making getting outside to play and exercise more of a challenge. But it’s still important.  Bonitas Medical Fund suggests you try and keep your child active throughout the year and provides some suggestions to get them moving, exercising and having fun.

Start with a few minutes of warm-up exercises like jumping jacks or jogging on the spot to get their muscles moving and heart pumping faster. Some of these exercises can be done in 5 to 10 minutes or your child can repeat the sequence for a longer session.

Running

Running is a simple exercise, perfect for outdoors or in a gym. It can be combined with other actions to create games like relay races. Make your child change the movement sequence by switching from running to skipping, lifting alternate knees to the chest or kicking heels to their bums.

Jumping

Jumping builds muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Children can try jumping jacks, hurdle hops, single-leg hops and criss-cross jumps.

  • umping jacks – Arms and legs are stretched out to the side like a starfish while jumping, the arms are returned to the sides of the legs on landing. Repeat the action
  • Hurdle hops – Jumping with feet together from side to side or front to back over a pretend hurdle
  • Single-leg hops – One knee is lifted while hopping around on the other leg. Alternate legs
  • Criss-cross jumps – Jump straight up, then cross one foot in front of the other. On the next jump, they switch feet

Side leg raises

Let your child lie on one side with his/her feet and hips on top of eachother, propping themselves up on their forearms. They must align their shoulder over their elbow. Your child then lifts their top leg straight up, keeping the foot parallel with the ground and toes flexed. They pause at the top and then lower the leg back down again.

Shoulder blasts

Your child holds their arms straight out to the sides. They make arm circles forward starting with small circles, gradually making larger circles. Your child then reverses direction, making  large circles backwards, gradually making smaller circles.

End off by stretching

Once your child is finished exercising, they can do simple stretches to keep their muscles strong and healthy. A stretching sequence can help move your child into a more relaxed state after their workout and help prevent injuries.

NB: Remember, before your child tries any of these exercises, they shouldn’t have any health conditions that stop them from physical activity. Also check your child has plenty of space to move and is wearing the right clothes and shoes.

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