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Exercise Ideas for Families

20th April 2020

Getting enough physical activity can be tricky during the current stage 3 restrictions. Here are some ideas to keep your family active and healthy while you are socially distancing or socially isolating.

Physical Activity for Babies

  • Aim for 30 minutes of floor play every day. Just have a few toys out at a time.
  • Set up a mat area to practice tummy time. Encourage your baby to reach for toys with each hand.
  • Older babies can also practice rolling, sitting, crawling, kneeling and pulling up to stand - aim for lots of practice on the skill they are up to.
  • You don’t need to do 30 minutes in one go, you can do a few shorter blocks of floor play over the day, to accumulate 30 minutes. Fit playtime in around sleeps, feeds and other important events in your baby’s schedule.

Physical Activity for Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers

  • Toddlers and pre-schoolers need lots of activity each day, at least 180 minutes, including some vigorous activity (the kind that makes your breathing faster and harder).
  • Try: Dancing to music
  • Playing musical statues
  • Setting up obstacle courses in your home (eg. stepping in and out of boxes, jumping on dots on the floor, commando crawling through a tunnel or a blanket across two chairs, balancing on a beam or line of tape on the floor)
  • Playing follow the leader (and doing activities like running, jumping, hopping, high knee walking, skipping, galloping for your children to copy)
  • Playing with bikes, trikes or scooters
  • Or tapping a balloon to each other and trying not to let it hit the floor.

Physical Activity for School-Aged Children and Teenagers

  • This age group needs at least 60 minutes of activity each day including moderate activity (where they can still talk, but not sing) and vigorous activity (where they can only say a few words between breaths).
  • Children and teenagers may enjoy going for walks, runs or bike rides as a family
  • Play ball games or practice throwing, catching and kicking skills.
  • Include some vigorous activity like skipping ropes, chasing games like tag, or dancing.
  • And muscle strengthening games like tug-a-war or climbing.
  • There are some great free exercise programs for this age group on Youtube such as Joe the Body Coach’s daily PE sessions:

Physical activity for Parents:

  • Don’t forget adults need 30 minutes of moderate activity or 15 minutes of vigorous activity each day, plus muscle strengthening activities at least twice a week
  • This can be challenging with the whole family home, and while supervising home schooling.
  • Try to join in with activities your kids are doing, or find ways to exercise that work for everyone (eg running while your children ride their bikes)
  • Joe the Body Coach has a wide range of free online workouts for adults as well as children
  • If you enjoy dance, the English National Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet companies are both offering free online classes – you just need a chair or bench to use as a barre.
  • Change it up Training is a locally operating fitness group and are offering online classes during covid-19. This is a fee paying service.
  • Activities like gardening, raking leaves, cleaning the house, washing windows offer a good chance for some incidental exercise.

Remember to stay safe and remain 1.5 meters from people who don’t live in your household during this time.


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