5 fun and easy ways to exercise as a family

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Gone are the days when children would plead to go to the playground or the park every day. With smartphones, Netflix and computer games keeping kids comfortably sedentary for most of the day, it’s become increasingly crucial to ensure that your child maintains a healthy level of activity throughout the week. At the same time, it’s vital that your child doesn’t feel forced to exercise. 

“It is important to support the child’s sense of autonomy,” shares Dr. Eugene Chew, a professor in NIE’s Department of Physical Education and Sports Science. “It’s not about commanding the child to exercise – the idea is to persuade the child using reason, and then support the child as he or she learns this new skill.”

To encourage your child to adopt a healthier lifestyle, here’s a simple tip: make it fun!

Incorporate a few enjoyable and vigorous activities into your weekend plans and join your children as they let loose. Suggest a few adjustments to spice up your family’s daily routine. Not only will it keep everyone in good shape, it’ll give you a chance to create warm, long-lasting memories with your child.

1. Cycling
Cycling is one of the easiest ways to introduce regular exercise into your child’s life. Get a bicycle and set aside a few weekend afternoons to teach your child how to ride. Once your child can cycle, try including it gradually into your daily routine. Instead of taking the bus or driving to the nearby food court, suggest a family bike ride down. You can also set up mini racing challenges and generate a little friendly rivalry to keep your child engaged.

2. Join a mermaid school
It’s never too late to realise a childhood dream! If you’ve got children at home who love the Little Mermaid, why not let them embrace it? The Singapore Mermaid School conducts group classes that you can join with your child to learn all the skills required to swim like a mermaid. Put on the vibrant mermaid tails and dive into the enchanting underwater world for a magical experience that you and your child won’t soon forget.

3. Introduce a family sports night
Often, the most effective way to get a child invested in a sport is to nurture a healthy competitive spirit. Start a family tradition of playing sports together once a week and invite friends to join in the fun. Simple games like badminton, football or basketball are perfect for teaching your child early lessons in the power of teamwork, perseverance and commitment. While playing these games, it’s important to ensure that your child doesn’t feel pressured to perform perfectly. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose – that’s the nature of life, and it’s helpful that your child learns to embrace this uncertainty from a young age.

4. Exercise in the park
There’s nothing like a pleasant walk or stretch in the park to refresh your senses after a long week of work and school. Get moving by joining the free exercise classes organised by the Health Promotion Board! Called Sundays at the Park, the classes are open to every age group and include activities like aerobics, kickboxing and Zumba.

5. Jump!
There’s a reason why this tiny island has so many trampoline parks. Aside from being an extremely good workout for your whole body, it’s also an exhilarating experience that will get your heart pumping. Next time you bring your children to a trampoline park, don’t sit in the waiting room – join in the fun!

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