Staying Physically Active While Physically Distancing
We face a crucial time in our society where strict measures have been put in place to protect the health of our families, friends, and community. Physical distancing, self-isolation, and avoiding group gatherings are the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our obligation to follow these practices can mean a big shift to our normal daily routines and things we usually take for granted. Just as large social events are banned, schools are closed, and community sport and recreation activities are suspended, unstructured group activities like play dates with neighbourhood friends, a pick-up game of road hockey, or groups of children playing together at a local park should not be happening. While you and your family may be spending more time at home these days it doesn’t mean you should be sedentary and spend most of the day sitting. It is still very important for people of all ages to continue to be physically active to maintain our physical and mental health.
Prior to the global pandemic many children and adults were already spending too much time in front of screens (i.e., watching TV, using smartphones/tablets, using a computer) and being sedentary (i.e., sitting or lying down). Although it may seem more challenging now, we need to be mindful to get up and move! After all, there are a number of physical and mental health benefits to being physically active. Participation in regular physical activity has been found to improve heart health, build and maintain strong bones and muscles, help maintain a healthy body weight, decrease stress, and improve our ability to cope with stress and our overall mood.
As a general rule of thumb, and to achieve these physical and mental health benefits, the Canadian 24hr Movement Guidelines recommend the following;
- Limit screen time (less than 2hrs per day for children ages 5-17, maximum of 1hr for ages 2-4)
- Limit sitting for extended periods
- Infants should get at least 30 minutes of “Tummy time” spread throughout the day
- Toddlers and Preschoolers should get at least 180 minutes of physical activity per day
- Children ages 5-17 should get 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day
- Adults 18+ should get 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week
So how can adults and children meet the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines at home, and with limited indoor and outdoor space?
- Create an obstacle course indoors, or in your backyard
- Do some spring cleaning or yard work around your house
- Get moving and grooving to your favourite music, or check out KIDZ Bop Dance Along videos online
- Make story time active! Read a story as a family and act it out.
- Many of our community organizations and local gyms are posting online videos of different fitness and yoga routines for people to try. Just be mindful to modify movements and take breaks when needed.
- Plan a scavenger hunt. Set up clues in and around the house, and have each clue contain one physical activity that must be completed before moving on to the next one.
- Stretch it out – www.cosmickids.com has lots of yoga videos for kids!
- Tape a hopscotch grid with low tack masking tape onto the floor. Use a rolled up sock as your marker and have fun hopping some energy out.
- Set up an old-fashioned mini-circuit in the corner of a room. Regular or modified push ups, sit-ups, planks, lunges are all basic exercises that require no equipment.
- Jump rope or skipping is an excellent way to incorporate some cardio for kids and adults alike!
- Try meditating at home.
- Walk, jog, or cycle along one of the many trails in Chatham-Kent https://chathamkenttrails.ca/ *Just remember not to congregate in large groups and to limit the distance between yourselves and others by at least 2 metres.
- For more activity ideas on keeping kids active at home check out Active for Life https://activeforlife.com/200-activities-you-can-do-with-kids-at-home/
As a community, let’s make sure we do our part to ensure physical distancing and stop the spread of COVID-19, but let’s keep ourselves active and healthy while doing it!