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Getting kids active with sports

Is your child a couch potato? This means that they often sit on the sofa watching television and love munching snacks and sweets. Typical couch potatoes hardly move and like eating as well – which obviously doesn’t do anything for their muscles and bones. This can affect their health in the long term. Also, the needle on the scales will keep going higher. We show how to turn your child from a couch potato into an exercise fan.

What exercise and sport can offer

Exercise and sport are good for the mind: they reduce stress, aggression and anxiety, improve morale and well-being and promote a good mood. Sporting achievements also increase self-confidence. Exercise gets the metabolism going and ensures the body is well supplied with blood. This is important, because it’s blood that transports the oxygen and nutrients to where they are needed – in every individual cell in the body. Muscles are built up – the body becomes stronger and, by and by, your stamina increases.

Regular sporting activities increase overall performance, because they put the cardiovascular system at a good level of fitness. Your child will thereby become more resilient, both physically and mentally. They will also be able to concentrate better, e.g. at school and on their homework.

More energy – ideally on a daily basis

Driving, watching TV and narrow living conditions are just some of the factors that can make us lazy. Aim to get more energy into family life every day. For example, don’t take your little angel to nursery or school by car. It is often possible to make the journey by bicycle or on foot. If your child is still too young or the journey is too dangerous to let them go alone, go with them. Or organise for your child to join a group that includes older children too, or a group that is always accompanied by a parent. With this option, the parents of all the children can take turns, so that no-one has to give up too much of their time.

Exercise will also benefit your child’s academic performance. Those who run around and play with the others at break times will also be able to concentrate better in lessons. Skipping, French skipping and hopscotch are still popular in the playground today. Give your children skipping ropes, French skipping ropes and street chalk. You can find these in lots of trendy colours nowadays. Then your child will be one of the trend setters.

You should be active together with your children as much as your time allows: going cycling, swimming or on a high ropes forest adventure course together, or just going for a nice walk in the countryside, is good for the whole family. This is how to share great experiences together time and again. In terms of sportiness, too, you will be setting a great example.

 
Which sport is the best one?

Nursery-age children are motivated to do more exercise by means of games, little competitions or imaginary journeys. At this age, riding a scooter, movement games such as catching games, ball games and hopscotch are all very popular. By the time children reach primary school, sport often becomes more challenging: swimming, ball games, gymnastics, skipping or cycling will now be on the agenda.

Now is also a good time to look for a favourite sport. Clubs will generally offer free trial training sessions. Let your child try out different types of sports until they find their favourite one. They will only keep going with something that they really enjoy. You will find further suggestions in the table below.

 
Type of sport   Description
Endurance sport e.g. swimming, cycling, in-line skating
  • Endurance training
  • Optimal cardiovascular training
  • Ideal as a training basis for other types of sports
  • Uses up a lot of calories
Team sports e.g. badminton, basketball, football, handball, tennis, volleyball
  • Games and competition
  • Promotes team spirit
  • Lots of like-minded team mates
  • Good coordination and endurance training
Adventure, fun and nature-based sports e.g. canoeing, climbing, riding, skiing, snowboarding, diving
  • Requires quite a lot of time and good basic equipment (not cheap)
  • Good coordination and endurance training
Schoolchildren
  • Well suited to those who love music and moving to a beat
  • Improves agility, coordination and stamina


Source: „Rundum fit – mit Sport und Ernährung“, Heft des aid infodienst Verbraucherschutz Ernährung Landwirtschaft e. V. (verändert)

Sports drink: fruit juice spritzer

Over the course of a 90 minute football game you can lose up to 3 litres of fluid. Ensure you drink enough before playing sport and, while you are playing sport, drink an extra quarter of a litre of fluid every 15 minutes. Fruit juice spritzers, e.g. NESTLÉ ALETE Frucht-Schorle milder Apfel and mineral waters like Nestlé PURE LIFE are ideal.