Top Three Reasons It’s Important For Families To Be Active — Together

Getting active with your kids helps them develop and is fun for the whole family

Studies show that kids whose parents are physically active are more likely to be active themselves

It’s important for kids to see their parents enjoying fitness, sports and physical activity.

A study done by Statistics Canada showed that the more active a parent is, the more active their children will be. The study measured 1,328 parent-child pairs and found that for every extra 20 minutes of physical activity the parent spent, their child tended to spend an extra five to 10 minutes. The study also showed that the reverse was true: kids with sedentary parents tend to spend more time being sedentary.

This report won’t be too surprising to parents — we all know that children learn by example. That’s why it’s so important for parents to set a good example for their children when it comes to being physically active.

But more than just modeling healthy, active behaviour, parents should consider seeking out opportunities for the whole family to be active. A game of tag outside after dinner, a family ski trip, going to the swimming pool on a weekend morning — these are all great ideas. Another is to sign your kids up for a parented program that requires your involvement. Not only will your child spend that time being active, you will too. Everyone benefits.

Physical literacy starts early

Have you heard of physical literacy? It’s the physical ability, motivation and confidence to be active for life! Not everyone is just born with skills like running, jumping or throwing a ball. Kids need to be taught, and once they have those skills, they’re set up to love physical activity for the rest of their lives.

You can teach your child physical literacy by choosing to be active together on a regular basis. Places like the YMCA put an emphasis on teaching physical literacy skills and thoughtfully work towards that literacy through their programs — and they have fun programs for kids as young as one year old!

It’s a great way to strengthen your family bond

Spending time together in any way is never time wasted. Having a strong family bond sets your child up for their social and emotional development, and that bond is developed by being together: by talking together, playing together and learning together. One incredible way to spend quality time with your children is by being physically active together.

This can start from infancy. There are so many great parent and tot classes out there. If you’re looking for variety, Baby & Me classes in everything from aquatic fitness to barre are available at the YMCA of Northern Alberta’s four locations in Edmonton. And if you have a membership, all of these classes are free!

Families with preschool-aged kids can also benefit from an active program. If your kids are older than infants but younger than six, the YMCA also has a great selection of programs for young kids, like Gym & Swim, Pre-Sport and Creative Movement. These programs are only $10 for an 8-week session for Y members.

Mothers exercising with their babies in the gym. They are carrying babies in baby carrier and exercise with arm raised. They are happy to exercise together with their babies and stay fit.

The YMCA of Northern Alberta is dedicated to helping children and their families be strong and healthy. Visit northernalberta.ymca.ca for more information on how we’re strengthening the foundations of community every day!