In a world where comfort and convenience is creating increasingly sedentary lifestyles, trying to stay active, fit and healthy can be tough. Toddler L and I try to have an active lifestyle, however I’ll be the first to admit that some days we spend way too much time in the house watching CBeebies.
I wrote not too long ago about how I was aiming to go from dad bod to rad bod – so far, things have been going pretty well during the past month. I’ve cut out some of the crap snacks I was eating and have upped the amount of exercise I’m doing. Although the point of this is to get myself back into a shape that isn’t a circle, I’m conscious that I want to set a good example for Toddler L.
The last thing I want is for her to add to the increasingly alarming numbers surrounding childhood obesity. I’m not sure if these are the latest obesity figures, but the 2014 Health Survey for England showed that 31% of children aged 2-15 were overweight (14%) or obese (17%). That is pretty bloody shocking. Obviously there are a number of factors as to why this is the case, but surely poor diets and not enough exercise are to blame.
The Government is trying to do its bit with things like the sugar tax, as are celebrities, schools and other organisations. In fact, research commissioned by playground equipment provider ESP Play found that 68% of a child’s PE lesson is spent stationary – which kind of goes against the whole ethos of ‘physical’ education!
Promisingly though, further research showed a 19% increase in physical activity in kids when ESP’s methods and playground environments were implemented. This included things like multi-skill zone playground markings and providing staff at schools with training programmes to improve their knowledge and PE lessons.
The sprog has always towed the 9th percentile when it’s come to her weight, so we’ve not had to worry about things like childhood obesity. Despite this, we’re still keen to ensure she eats well and is active so that she doesn’t suffer from any health related issues. So, here are five things that we do with Toddler L to ensure she has an active lifestyle.
Walking The Dog: Weather dependant, I try to get our pack out of the house for a daily walk. Whether it’s a quick stroll around the block, a wander through the woods or a longer amble along the canal, I find it a good way to get in a bit of exercise for us all – particularly as both the dog and I aren’t as agile as we once were (*cough* fat *cough*). Although she’s still at an age when she could be in a stroller, I much prefer to get her moving and not be so reliant on being pushed around. Give it another six months or so and she’ll have incredible hammies!
Playing At The Playground: Due to her adventurous and daring nature, Toddler L loves nothing more than scaling the playground equipment at the park. For her age, she’s very competent and confident at tackling the obstacles in front of her, be it ascending climbing frames, walking across bars, clambering up cargo nets or flying (not literally) down slides. We’re lucky to have a number of parks in the vicinity with good outdoor play equipment, so we’ll often head to one of these for an hour or so if we’ve not got anything else planned that day. It also gives me the chance to pretend I’m Daredevil as I effortlessly (ha!) move from obstacle to obstacle.
Exploring The Country: Living in a semi-rural part of Hertfordshire, we’re lucky to have some awesome surroundings on our doorstep. Within a 15 minute drive, we can be wandering the woods, downlands and meadows of Ashridge Estate, atop Ivinghoe Beacon looking across the surrounding countryside, on a forest adventure in Wendover Woods or watching the gliders along the chalk hills of Dunstable Downs. As Toddler L gets older, I can see us spending more and more time in places like this. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, eh?!
Playing In The Garden: Having recently had our garden landscaped – yes, I’m talking about it again – we now have a toddler-friendly outdoor space. Although not the biggest garden in the world, there’s enough room for Toddler L to play. Whether it’s kicking / throwing a ball, chasing the dog or endlessly opening / closing the doors of her playhouse, our new garden gives us somewhere outside where we can hang out and be active – or, if I’m feeling a bit lazy, a place where she can be active as I watch on from my deckchair.
Going to Classes: Since being born, we’ve made a conscious effort to take the sprog to specific baby and toddler classes. As she’s got older and has shown a natural flair for doing active things, we’ve chosen classes that will help her develop confidence, coordination, social interaction and burn off her never-ending energy. At 22-months old, Toddler L currently does Water Babies, Tumble Tots and Little Kickers each week, plus is shortly about to start Tappy Toes. These structured classes have been fantastic at getting her used to having an active lifestyle from a young age, plus allows us to do semi-structured activities as dad and daughter.
So those are five things I do to ensure Toddler L has an active lifestyle. They’re obviously not revolutionary, but sometimes the simple things are the most effective. Do you do anything to ensure your kid is active? Do you worry about things like obesity in your children? How do you ensure your toddler has an active lifestyle? Let me know below!
N.B. This is a collaborative post written with ESP Play.[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like what you’ve read? Want more? Pop in your email to get all of the latest posts.”]