Be active at home

Regular daily physical activity is an essential part of healthy growth and development, laying the foundations the future.

It’s really important for kids to learn the basic coordination skills such as balancing, running, jumping, catching, hopping, throwing, galloping, skipping, leaping and kicking. These fun skills are the basis of all types of physical activity.

As children develop these skills they will often develop the confidence to take part in other sports and group activities, which in turn build social skills and fitness throughout their lives.

What can I do?

To help your family become more active and improve your own health and wellbeing, choose activities that you enjoy and incorporate these into you lifestyle. You could:

  • make time in your calendar for physical activity, the same way you schedule family time for homework
  • turn off the television and computer and go for a walk as a family. Think of ways to keep motivated… take the dog, do a free pedometer challenge or look out for a free phone app that automatically counts your steps
  • wash the car at home rather than going to the car wash
  • plan "walk and talk" outings with your friends and their children
  • organize a walking "school bus" in your neighbourhood and have the parents take turns walking the kids to school
  • rediscover some old time favourite activities – get some chalk and play hopscotch, fly a kite in the park or run through the sprinkler on a hot day
  • rather than standing on the sidelines watching your children play sport, walk and talk around the oval. Get others to join you by signing up to a pedometer challenge
  • take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift
  • park the car as far away from the door as possible at shopping centres. You’ll save time finding a park and get some exercise in the process
  • get off the bus a couple of stops early and walk home
  • plan activities during schools holiday that involve physical activity to compensate for that lack of organised sports during this time. Think about bush walking, camping, or swimming
  • form a "family health club" that meets once a week to do an activity such as bowling, bike ride, swimming or a moonlight walk while gazing at the stars.

House design

What could house design possibly have to do with healthy lifestyles? Well… lots.

If you are building a new house or renovating, think about the amount of space you allow for your backyard and how you use that space.

It’s a good idea to allow space for kids to run around and play. If you plant a vegie garden and some fruit trees, you’ll have cheap or (almost) free fruit and vegetables in the future and with a bit of planning, your family will have lots of fun watching them grow, and get physical activity through preparing soil, weeding, pruning etc.

And as an added bonus, children are also more likely to eat vegies that they have grown and you can choose simple recipes to cook together.