Encouraging a Positive Mindset Toward Physical Fitness and Physical Activity — at School and at Home

At Walkabouts, we understand the importance of introducing physical fitness and physical activity at a young age. By creating home, school, and community cultures that embrace physical fitness and physical activity, the stage is set for a lifetime of vitality and wellness. 

Regular physical activity is crucial for physical, social, and mental development and well being. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and other trusted adults can find ways to foster and support children’s healthy habits and make movement fun. 

Potential benefits of daily physical activity for children include: 

  • increased energy levels
  • better academic performance
  • enhanced social skills
  • decreased stress 

While increasing daily physical activity is important, physical fitness should also be incorporated regularly. Physical fitness is typically exercise that is more planned and structured that is accomplished through repetitive, intentional movement. Exercise can include activities such as running, biking, and yoga as well as exercise routines involving traditional activities such as jumping jacks, sit-ups, and push-ups or planks.

Potential benefits of daily physical fitness for children include: 

  • bone, muscle, and joint health
  • improved blood circulation
  • heart strength and efficiency 
  • improved concentration, coordination, and muscle control
  • increased flexibility, stability, and strength
  • improved balance and posture
  • healthy body weight

While aiming to increase both the physical fitness and physical activity of the children in your care, be mindful that you are the ultimate role model. Talk with children about ways you stay active, encourage children to exercise with you, and model physical fitness and physical activity. 

Here are some small ways for parents and caregivers to incorporate additional physical activity throughout a child’s day. Children can:

  1. Help with age-appropriate indoor chores (pick up toys, assist with laundry, sweep, vacuum, etc.).
  2. Help with age-appropriate outdoor chores (sweep, rake leaves, water plants, wash a car, etc.).
  3. Help to prepare meals and snacks (with supervision).
  4. Help to take care of household pets (fill food and water bowls, play and exercise with the pet, etc.).

Here are some fun and effective strategies for parents and caregivers to encourage physical exercise every day:

  1. Walk or ride a bike/scooter to school. Remember to wear a helmet!
  2. Walk or ride a bike/scooter to a park, playground, or community center (such as a public library) to play and explore. Remember to wear a helmet!
  3. Play a team sport or participate in an active afterschool program (basketball, soccer, dance, gymnastics, karate, etc.)
  4. Take a family walk before or after a meal.
  5. While watching TV or movies, incorporate dance or workout breaks during commercials or at other regular intervals.
  6. Play active games outside with family and/or friends (hopscotch, jump rope, catch, kickball, basketball, soccer, tag, etc.).

Here are some engaging ways for teachers to encourage additional physical activity throughout the school day:

  1. Integrate movement activities such as the classroom wave, the windmill, and more!
  2. Include movement-filled transitions between activities.
  3. Incorporate movement breaks.
  4. Try quiet games during testing breaks and other times to build classroom community.
  5. Incorporate movement with mindfulness exercises. 
  6. Use a classroom movement calendar to encourage students to move and learn together.
  7. Play Minute to Win It games.
  8. Complete seasonal activities that tie into the spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Here are some fun and effective strategies for teachers to encourage physical exercise during the school day (in addition to regular physical education classes):

  1. Try these indoor and outdoor active play and movement opportunities.
  2. These indoor movement activities are perfect for rainy days (and indoor recess).
  3. Heart-centered activities can help energize and regulate the body.
  4. As the weather changes from winter to spring, check out some warm weather outdoor games.
  5. Integrate sports and academics.  

By encouraging physical fitness and physical activity in fun and engaging ways — both at school and at home — children can quickly adopt healthy habits to support their development and well being. 

One way to encourage a positive mindset toward physical fitness and physical activity in your home or classroom is with Walkabouts. Walkabouts are on-demand adventures that transform math, language arts, and reading content into short, movement-rich activities. Walkabouts’ evidence-based online curriculum supplement makes it easy for teachers and parents to create kinesthetic learning activities — fun lessons that bring key concepts to life through active learning techniques. Ready to try Walkabouts? Sign up for a 30-day trial run today!