Exercising your body is one of the main ways to be and stay healthy. Exercise is part of being fit, which is good for everybody. And exercise is part of overall good health – both for your mind and body.
It helps your mind to be fit if your body is too. And experts agree that exercising boosts your mood, improves your school work, and also helps you to sleep better.
Here are some ways exercise can happen without much effort:
Sports – sports involve exercise, movement, sometimes playing on a team, and learning new skills. These are all fun activities to most kids, and getting involved is usually positive and helps you to have fun and grow.
Find out how you can get involved – are there teams at your school you can join? Is there a community centre nearby with some organized sports? Is there a particular sport you are interested in that you can get lessons in – such as swimming or hockey? If your family can’t afford the fees for joining or the equipment, there are ways to get this for free. Ask your school counsellor or other adult to help you find out about Sport Manitoba or other free ways to play.
Playing outside – You can run, jog, walk or see how many times you can play hopscotch in a row – even if you’re on your own. You can pick up your skateboard and practice skills or throw a ball against a wall and catch it to get better at that! You can do many activities outside and being active can make you feel good.
If you have friends around, you can make teams and play simple, fun games – tag, hide and seek, hoops, pick-up softball, bingo or red rover. If you don’t know of any games, ask an adult to teach you the games they played as kids!
Gyms – some gyms have free time for kids to come and participate in sports. Ask your gym teacher if your school offers this. It can be a fun way to learn a new game or sport and make new friends too. You can also check with your local community centre, Boys and Girls Club or YMCA to see if there are any free or open gym times offered there.
Working Out at Home – it can be tough to get out to exercise sometimes. Here are some hacks to get you moving around at home. There are lots of free videos online to work out with.
If you don’t have internet, you can dance to your favourite song. You can also do some exercises from your gym class at school such as sit-ups, jumping jacks, or yoga poses. School libraries also have books you can take out to learn yoga or other exercise moves to do at home.
Some things to think about
Some activities that are part of your daily routine aren’t as healthy for you as being active – take the time to think about how they affect your mental and physical well-being!
Screen Time – sometimes we don’t realize how much time we spend in front of a screen playing video games, watching TV, surfing the web or using a cell phone. These are all common activities for kids, teens and adults alike, but they pretty much only involve sitting down and staring at a screen. There are a few exceptions, such as video games that simulate sport activities, but mostly, it’s a watching kind of activity. Studies show that too much sitting is actually not good for anyone’s body – kids or adults.
Give yourself some time limits on screen time – try one hour at a time and then take a break. Taking a break can be going outside, going for a walk or doing some of the activities suggested above.
Couch Potatoes – another way we can forget to be active and get exercise is to nap or spend too much time on the couch. This often happens after school (a time when most people feel like sitting down and taking it easy). This is OK sometimes, just like screen time. But lying around too much can make us feel more tired.
Experts agree that getting exercise and active playing actually helps us to feel better, have more energy and sleep well. Just like with screen time, you can start by noticing how much you are on the couch and giving yourself some limits. (Try asking a friend to do this with you so you are both working on being more active and finding active, fun things to do together.)
Not being able to stop napping or lying down might signal other problems like being down much of the time or having other ongoing worries.
Check out Stress Hacks for Feelings to find out more!