The Easter holidays are here, and while it may be tempting to do little but snuggle up on the sofa and eat lots of chocolate, the next two weeks are the perfect time to get the whole family up and moving.
The slightly warmer spring weather (fingers crossed!) and longer days are an excellent reason to shun the screens and get outside. Plus, the added excuse of being able to turn any activity into an Easter-themed one should make it much easier to persuade even the most reluctant children to give it a go.
Why is exercise so important for children?
Physical activity is critical for children’s health and wellbeing.
Regular exercise promotes the development of strong bones and muscles, and reduces the risk of conditions like obesity and diabetes. It can also have a massive impact on mental health, helping to reduce anxiety, improve mood and self-esteem, and promote better sleep.
Cognitive function is also improved by regular exercise, so getting active during the holidays can improve focus inside the classroom once they get back to school, helping with concentration, memory and overall academic performance.
But how do we get them to actually do it?
Encouraging children to exercise can be challenging, especially after the winter months when they’ve been used to spending a lot of their free time indoors. However, with a little creativity and enthusiasm, you can make exercise fun and engaging for your children.
Here are our top tips:
- Lead by example
As a parent or guardian, you can set a great example for your children. If you lead an active lifestyle, they are much more likely to follow suit. Plan activities that involve the whole family, such as bike rides, hikes, or a game of football in the park.
Or sign up to one of our Virtual Runner Easter challenges and encourage them to come along with you. There’s a 10k or our Easter Fun Challenge, where you simply run or walk as many miles as you can before April 16th. Setting achievable goals provides a sense of focus, and the promise of a specially-designed medal at the end adds an extra layer of excitement!
– Make it fun
Children are more likely to enjoy exercise when it’s fun and engaging, and Easter is the perfect opportunity to come up with something a bit different. You can make your traditional Easter egg hunt as active as you like, perhaps by setting a time limit by which all the eggs have to be found, or you could even consider hiding eggs on your favourite cycling route and getting everyone out on their bikes. There might even be fun things on in your local area to get you outdoors and active.
Other Easter-themed activities that are sure to be a hit include an egg and spoon race, a bunny hop race and egg-rolling – just find the biggest hill you can, hike to the top and roll your eggs down (hard-boiled of course!).
Another top-tip is to get your children involved in the planning of some of these activities. It’s often much easier to convince them to do something if they feel like it was their idea in the first place.
– Give them rewards
Rewarding your children for their efforts can be an excellent way to encourage them to exercise. Obviously, Easter eggs provide excellent motivation but, if you’re trying to limit chocolate intake, you could offer incentives such as a new piece of sports kit, a day out at a theme park, a family meal at their favourite restaurant or Virtual Runner bling!
So, why not get cracking and have some egg-citing fun this Easter holiday? Whether it’s going on an egg hunt, playing a game of tag, or taking a family bike ride, there are endless opportunities to get moving and enjoy the springtime weather.
Hop to it!