Being a Physically Active Parent

As a parent, finding time for regular physical activity can be a challenge. It is not always easy to balance family and professional responsibilities while taking time for YOURSELF. Too often, the easiest solution is to forget about your own needs. As you probably know, being physically active can protect you from health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, some forms of cancer and depression. In addition, regular physical activity improves the quality of your sleep, gives you energy and helps you manage your stress and anxiety. It can only help you be a better parent!

Tips and advice

There are many benefits to adopting a physically active lifestyle, but you must keep at it. The following tips can help you and your family stay motivated.

• Replace certain sedentary activities connected with sitting in front of a screen with short daily sessions of games and exercises adapted to your child’s abilities. Five, 10 or 15 minutes a day are enough to reap the benefits of physical activity.
• Take advantage of daily tasks to keep the whole family active: Do your errands on foot or by bicycle; let your child help you garden, rake the yard or shovel snow, providing appropriate tools, etc. Take every opportunity to get moving.
• Play outside: Go for a walk with the stroller or a sled, follow an obstacle course at a local park, go for a swim, go sliding, etc. A word of advice: choose a pleasant, stimulating setting you would like to visit again.
• Choose a variety of enjoyable seasonal activities.
• Involve your child in the choice of family activities by asking his/her preference:
a game of hockey, a hike through the woods, etc.
• Invite friends or neighbours to participate in your activities.
• Find information about:
- programs and services available in your municipality, in community centres or physical fitness centres: cardio-stroller, water fitness, drop-in daycare etc.
- places where you can rent the equipment required to practice physical activities with a child: baby carriers for hiking, bike trailers for small children, baby sleds, a harness for cross-country skiing, etc 

Because children learn through imitation, they copy your behaviour and that of others around them. In order to help your child develop a culture of physical activity early on, provide an environment that will give him/her a taste for a physically active lifestyle.
Here’s how:
•   by being physically active yourself
•   by giving your child as many opportunities as possible to play and move vigorously to burn off excess energy
•    by making time, in daily life, for spontaneity and new discoveries in order to appreciate how much fun it is to be active 

For more information

Source – Exercise and Have Fun! Games and Exercises for Parents and Children