Family

Gemma McCaw on how to encourage your children to exercise - and why she'll be leading by example

Statistics show that only 10% of secondary school students are doing the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day.

By Gemma McCaw

With one in three Kiwi kids considered obese and statistics showing that only 10% of secondary school students are doing the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day, there's no doubt we need to put more effort into helping our children to lead healthy and active lives.

With the school holidays upon us, now is the perfect time to show our young people just how important it is to move their bodies and eat well. Lead by example and they'll soon follow.

Make it fun
Exercise shouldn't be viewed as a chore! Find something your kids enjoy that suits their ages and personalities. Every child is different and not everyone is driven to be a top athlete. Understand how your children are motivated and what they have fun doing.

Lead the way
Children who see their parents enjoying exercise are more likely to be active themselves. Make movement a fun part of your family routine – kick a ball around, take a long walk together or jump on the trampoline with them. Children love it when parents get involved and spending time together results in a strong, healthy family unit.

Switch off
Time spent staring at screens means children are increasingly sedentary. Make a set of school-holiday rules where everyone agrees to a certain amount of screen-free time each day.

Take the kids outside and into nature. Have toys and activities at home that provide as much excitement as their devices. Obstacle courses around the house are always great fun.

Make time
Plan ahead and schedule a convenient time for your kids to be active. If you're on holiday, make a daily habit of getting out and exercising together as a family. Bike rides, scooter adventures and family walks are the best way to explore, learn and discover while spending quality time together. Check out the abundance of nature walks and bike-riding trails in your area.

Take a mate
Join up with other families for outdoor activities. Kids love adventures with their friends, and the parents can relax and socialise too.

Mix it up
Variety is essential for kids as they develop. Heading to the beach or lake in the summer can provide hours of free entertainment. Take a ball or frisbee to the beach or park, and encourage your children to swim and play. Fresh air is great for the soul.

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