Back To After School Activity!
September is back to school! For many parents that means getting their children back to organized activity and sport! It is so important from a very young age to promote a healthy active lifestyle for our children. As a mom of three, I understand how hard it is to juggle the work and home life balance. It seems like many days I am rushing from work to pick up from school. Then back in the car again, driving my children to and from activities all while they are eating their supper meal in the car. Getting home late and prepping healthy lunches and supper for the next day sometimes seems overwhelming, but I feel it is totally worth it! When I sit back and reflect on the busyness of our lives, I realize for me, the craziness of running children to and from activities brings me joy. Don’t get me wrong, some days I am feeling defeated but in the big picture it is what I want to be doing. When I see my son get a goal in hockey and then skate over to the boards to smile at me and check that I “seen” it makes me realize why I do what I do! Or when my daughter masters a new skill at gymnastics like the first time she did a back walk over, and says to me, “I got it Mom, I am so happy!”, that brings me joy. If at the end of the day, all the effort you put into your day brings you joy, then I feel that you are doing the right thing. I have always felt that it is important to provide my children with opportunities to be involved in sport and activity. To help them find their passion and love for an activity and see it bring them joy is ultimately my goal! I believe that if they develop a love for a sport or activity at a young age, it will inspire them to stay active and enjoy physical activity throughout their life. This will benefit them in so many ways as they grow and develop into a young adult and into adolescence.
In Children, physical activity develops cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and bone density. It helps them maintain a healthy body weight and reduce their risk of chronic disease and health problems later in life. Children also learn to work together, develop better self-esteem, become a good team mate, have motivation to work hard and pursue goals. I believe that living a healthy active lifestyle starts from childhood. Knowing just how much activity or what type can be difficult. When it comes to physical activity there have been great recommendations made by the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP) to help parents ensure their children are getting what they need!
Children learn by experience as well as from observation. If as parents we are good role models, our children will learn from that. The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology also makes recommendations on the amount and type of physical activity for adults, which is also outlined below.
Get active as a family! Plan regular family outings to walk, bike, swim, skate, etc. If getting in your physical activity is difficult because you are always running children to and from activities, try and incorporate your fitness for when your children are participating in their activities. If they have Tae Kwon Do for one hour, two hours of Dance, or three hours of Gymnastics, take that time to head to your own yoga class, go for a 5 km walk, or attend a spin class. Try and incorporate whatever physical activity you love and brings you joy! In doing this, at the end of the day, some of your time is spent for yourself and the day then doesn’t feel so much like you have been running around for everyone else!
Organized sport and activities are great, however, living an active lifestyle does not have to include them. It can be as easy as parking further away from your destination and adding a 5-10min walk to your day. Taking the stairs, instead of the elevator. Getting out for an evening bike ride or walk instead of heading to the couch to watch TV after dinner. These are all great ways to increase physical activity throughout the day. Other ways to encourage physical activity through play can include playing tag – or freeze-tag! Going to the playground after school instead of rushing home. Walking, biking, rollerblading or skateboard with your kids to school. Encouraging your children to play an active game at recess. Going sledding in the park on the weekend or going “puddle hopping” on a rainy day.
There are also many great resources that outline physical activity programs offered throughout the city. These include the Leisure Guide, YMCA, and your local community association website. There are also programs that offer financial assistance such as Kid Sport so your child can be in the game even if there are financial restraints. If there are any underlying physical limitations or injury your child is struggling with that is preventing them from participating in an activity or sport, seeing a physiotherapist is also helpful to get them back into the game!
Pelvic Health Physiotherapist