My Children don’t Exercise
October 9, 2013  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

When we were children, we ran home from school, snacked, changed into comfy clothes and ran back out again to play in the park or the street until it got dark or it was time for dinner. Today, however, our children hardly move. They are so hooked on watching TV, playing on the computer or video games plus they have so much homework and extra-curricular activities that it leads them to a sedentary lifestyle.

UNICEF recognizes that sports and play are a fundamental right of children.

The United Nations  recommends sports for development and peace.

We know that physical exercise is crucial for our children’s growth and development and that the physical and social benefits they obtain from exercising include better balance, self-esteem and team work, among others. So, why aren’t we giving it the importance it deserves? Here are some suggestions and fun ideas so your children can grow healthy and integrate sports and exercise in their daily routines.

Walking – it might sound boring but it’s one of the most complete forms of exercise and one of the easiest to integrate in our daily life. The physical benefits that we – children and adults alike- obtain from walking include balance, coordination and flexibility. On a social level, walking gives us a sense of freedom and improves our self-esteem. During the week we can walk with our children to the park, to school or around the neighborhood. Teach them to enjoy a slow stroll and to discover new things that cannot be seen from the car window and take advantage to instill a sense of orientation. Walking allows you to play, to differentiate between left and right, count number of steps or streets and to recognize landmarks close to home.

Riding a Bike – This is not only fun but also a great way of exercising.  Children can even start at a very young age. It helps improve coordination, balance and avoids weight problems and a sedentary lifestyle. Riding a bicycle also helps to improve their discipline and be conscious of their surrounding environment. In the park or in the countryside, riding a bike is a great activity for the entire family.

Swimming – At any age, swimming is one of the most complete forms of exercise there is. It stimulates blood circulation, improves cardio and lung resistance as well as body postures and flexibility. Besides being fun, swimming also benefits their self-esteem and improves relaxation by freeing them of the tension and nerves accumulated during the week. At the beach or in the swimming pool, it’s crucial that your children learn to swim and enjoy being in the water. Swimming is something they will never forget to do and it can save their lives and the lives of others.


Team Sports – Sports in general help children learn how to follow rules, especially when they practice team sports. Children learn how to be in a team and discover the importance of trusting others and vice-versa. Discipline, teamwork, leadership, solidarity and tolerance to frustration are intimately linked to team sports such as soccer, dance, gymnastics or athletics. The difficult part is choosing the right one for them.

For more information, Kids Gov has created a fun guide full of recommendations for parents regarding the importance of physical activity. Whatever they choose to do, you should set an example and share a love for exercise and prove that great satisfactions come with effort and discipline.

Photo Credit: Bostjan Rudolf

Photo Credit: USAG Humphreys

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