Picture: Pexels
Picture: Pexels

WATCH: Get your family off the couch with these fun exercises

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Jul 19, 2019

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It's winter and the thought of waking up early, getting the kids ready and facing the dreary outdoors for a family hike or neighbourhood run seems a bit unpleasant to say the least.

At this time of the year, it becomes the norm for family-time to become hinged around weekend movie marathons with bowls of popcorn and mugs of hot chocolate - but that shouldn't be the case. 

Personal trainer and teacher at Durban High School, Edwin Govender encourages families to get off the couch, brush the crumbs off their laps and get moving with these fun exercises:

“It’s functional and doesn't require parents taking out gym contracts for their children. Parents and children can do these activities  together at home or at the park. It’s fun family bonding time and all it takes is 30 minutes per day to ensure your family remains healthy,” said Govender.

Eight exercises to help ensure growing children remain strong, fit, flexible and mentally focused:

- Skipping: Cardiovascular fitness, core strength, lower body strength. Coordination and balance

- Running: Cardiovascular fitness, core strength, stamina.

- Cycling: Cardiovascular fitness, core strength, lower body strength, coordination and balance.

- Playing outdoor sport:  Cardiovascular fitness, total body strength and conditioning, improves balance and hand eye coordination.

- Monkey bars: Good for upper body strength and stamina, balance and hand-eye coordination.

- Balance bar: Good for balance, core strength and coordination.

- Spider rope: Good for upper body and lower body strength, core, flexibility and balance.

- Climbing wall: Good for upper and lower body strength, stamina, flexibility and hand-eye coordination.

Zelda Ackerman, registered dietitian and ADSA spokesperson shared seven dietary tips to encourage and assist in developing healthy eating habits in children under 12 years:

- Teach your children to eat balanced meals and healthy, balanced snacks between meals.

- Even if your children have ideal body weights, focus on choosing healthy food and limit fast and processed food.Thinness is no guarantee for health.

- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Focus on variety. Aim for 5 - 10 portions per day.

- Dish age appropriate portion sizes for your children.

- Teach your children to stop eating when they are full instead of finishing all their food.

- Do not overly restrict sweets or other unhealthy food.

- Encourage your children to drink water and low fat or fat free milk.

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