The school holidays are here and chances are your house is bursting at the seams with kids ready to burn off some energy.
There are plenty of ways to keep them active and the benefits will be two-fold. Getting your kids moving not only tires them out and has all of the obvious health rewards, I find it also great for parental sanity.
As a parent myself, I know it is easy to let the kids have a bit more screen time during the break because it keeps them quiet but I always try to counteract with plenty of physical activity.
According to www.healthdirect.gov.au/benefits-of-physical-activity-for-children, "children over five should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day".
That does not have to be structured activities. It could be simply going for a walk or making a trip to the local park.
It also reports that roughly four out of five children in Australia are not getting the recommended daily one hour of physical activity for good health.
Research had found that children in Australia are spending more time being sedentary - sitting or lying down using electronic media for example - than ever before, and striking a balance through finding more opportunities for them to move is important.
"The Australian Government recommends that children aged five to 12 should spend no more than two hours a day in front of a screen for entertainment, including television, seated electronic games, portable electronic devices or computers," the website says.
"Children should do 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. That includes fast walking, riding a bike or scooter, playing, running and doing organised sports.
"There should be a mix of activities that make them puff and activities that are good for their bones, like climbing on monkey bars, gymnastics, dance, running, skipping and jumping."
Here are some suggestions to get them moving these holidays:
Hit the park. Climbing, swinging, jumping, running, scooting, riding, walking, kicking a ball and more can all be done here.
Hit the trails. This might be for a bushwalk or mountainbiking and we have plenty of places in our area to do it. Newcastle-based Bike and Fitness are running organised mountainbike sessions through Glenrock today and tomorrow for children aged eight to 16 years. The camps go from 9am until 3pm and you need to have a mountain bike. It is for all abilities, from beginners to advanced. You can find out more through 1800 753 127. They also run weekly hour-long sessions throughout school term on a range of days and you can find out more at www.bikeandfitness.com.au.
Hit the indoor centres. The Ninja Parc at Cooks Hill and The Forum at the University of Newcastle hold holiday sessions.
Before the warm weather totally leaves us, swimming or surfing lessons might be an option also, or a session of ice skating. Or it might simply be some skipping or trampolining at home.
Autumn Sessions Week #7
There are plenty of ways to keep the kids moving throughout the school holidays. It might be simply kicking a ball down the park or hitting the beach for one last blast of summer if the weather permits. You could also set up a circuit, or obstacle course at home or the park.
It might look like this: Stations of skipping, hopping, bouncing a ball, moving objects from one bucket to another by running, jumping over an object, throwing and catching a ball (with someone else or against a wall), shooting hoops or aiming for a target and getting as many hits as possible in an allocated time.
Make it a family affair by adding in some strength exercises for the parents.
Upcoming Fitness Events
Coastal Ascent Trail Run, Dixon Park, April 28: Starting and finishing at Dixon Park and running through Glenrock State Conservation Area, this new event offers 11km and 25km options.
Winery Running Festival, Hunter Valley, July 20-21: There is a half marathon, 10km, 6km and kids 2km. On the Saturday evening, there will be the inaugural Moon Marathon, a night marathon for individuals or teams.
The Bloody Long Walk, Newcastle, July 28: A 35-kilometre walk on a scenic course from Belmont to Newcastle beach to raise funds and awareness for Mitochondrial Disease.
Send your health and fitness news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.