“School is back in session, but that doesn’t mean that exercise needs to take a back seat to school, homework and all the other assignments that come from being back in school,” says Dr. Chris Koutures, pediatrician and sports medicine specialist at CHOC.
Consistent exercise is beneficial for your child’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. Even on a busy school day, even just 30 minutes of exercise can make a big difference in your kids’ lives.
There are many ways families can get active during a busy school day. Here, Dr. Koutures provides five easy ways to get more exercise during the week.
Tips for incorporating exercise on school days for kids and teens
1. Walk to school.
Walking to school is a great, easy way to incorporate more exercise into a busy school day. If you can’t walk the entire way, walk at least part of the way, suggests Dr. Koutures. Consider dropping off your child a block away and walking the rest of the distance to school together.
2. Play outside.
When your kids get home from school, try to have them play outside or at least move around for 30 minutes before they start their homework.
After school could also be a good time for your family to play active games together like catch, soccer, jump roping, dancing, swimming, tag and hula-hooping.
If your child is more interested in doing indoor activities than playing outside, have them get up at least every five to 10 minutes to move around.
3. Move during the commercials.
If your kids rather watch TV or video after school, have them get up and move during the commercials or breaks, says Dr. Koutures. They can run around, do jumping jacks, do sit-ups or any other quick exercises that help them move.
Commercials often take about five minutes every half hour, so if your kids move around during the commercials, they will get at least 10 minutes of exercise per hour.
If there aren’t any commercials or breaks while your child is watching TV or a video, take a pause every half hour so they can move around.
4. Take the stairs.
If you are out shopping or around town, opt for the stairs rather than taking the escalator or elevator. Consider parking a little bit further away and walking into stores — just keep moving!
5. Go for a walk before or after dinner.
Take a family walk before or after dinner or go for a family bike ride. Make it a fun time for the entire family — use it as a time to talk about your day and catch up.
During the busy school year, Dr. Koutures reminds parents to “find ways to throw in fitness, find ways to make it fun and find ways to get the entire family involved.” With these tips, we hope this school year is your family’s most active year yet!
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