Get up and move! May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and the perfect time to teach your littles about being active and healthy. We believe it's never too early to start exposing your kiddos to fitness, so we chatted with our friend Allie Fogel to get her advice on how parents can do just that.
Allie is a professional dancer who played "Elmo" on the national tour of Sesame Street Live and Gil on Bubble Guppies Live. She's also the creator of RECESS with Allie, an on-demand video platform that inspires kids through dance and movement. She's a firm believer that fitness should be fun. We loved getting her perspective on teaching our littles about movement; here's what she shared with us:
Why is physical fitness necessary for young children?
Physical fitness couldn't be more important for young children! It greatly impacts a child's physical, mental, and emotional well-being and development and improves fine motor skills, cardiovascular health, self-esteem, mental health, and focus. Physical fitness also enhances a child's long-term health and builds a strong foundation for fitness in teenage and adult years. I could go on and on about the benefits of physical fitness for kids and everyone!
How early can little ones get started with physical fitness?
It's never too early! Ideally, kids ages six and over should get about an hour a day of physical activity. This can be anything from a brisk walk to soccer practice to running around on the playground.
What's the best way for parents to expose their children to fitness?
I think it's important to show kids that fitness can be FUN! Fitness doesn't have to be a chore or a form of punishment. Invite your kids to follow along with a workout video and encourage them to simply try their best. Turn on some fun music and engage in a fun dance party or have a family field day in your backyard. Family walks and simple hikes are also great ways to get some quality time together while being active.
What are some of the best activities for kids?
Dance: I'm biased, but I love a good dance party or dance class for little ones. Dance has so many incredible benefits, regardless of age or gender. I've taught a lot of dance over the years, and it's incredible watching a kid's confidence soar and grow above all.
Play: It might sound obvious, but running around the playground or playing in a back or front yard is excellent exercise. Play engages the body, but it also engages creativity and imagination. You never know what new game a kid will invent next on the playground.
Team Sports: Team sports get kids engaged in physical activity and are a great opportunity for kids to learn the value of teamwork. There are so many sports to try, from soccer to baseball to lacrosse and beyond!
As parents, how do you recommend modeling behavior for kids?
It's essential for parents to model healthy habits and behavior for kids above all. Treat exercise as a fun activity and explain the benefits of fitness in a positive light. We all know that it's hard to sneak in exercise with little ones running around - try incorporating your kiddo into your favorite workout and invite them in on the fun. Eating well is an incredibly important aspect of health and fitness. Expose your kids to the magic of healthy eating and cooking.
What are some resources you recommend?
RECESS with Allie: That's me! I grew up as a larger, unconfident kid who was heavily involved in the competitive dance world. Growing up, I felt immense pressure to look a certain way in dance, but viewed fitness as an intimidating activity that I wasn't built to do. Not good for a kid's mental health at all! Because of this, I have a huge passion for creating a healthy, joyful, confident space for kids to flourish and grow in the physical fitness space. Check out my content for some fun on-demand movement and dance videos that engage the mind, body, and imagination!
Go Local: Tap into your local community and check out community events, camps, and sports teams. This is a great way to engage in physical activities and meet some new people. Summer is also around the corner, and there are so many fun outdoor physical activities to participate in.
YouTube and Other Online Resources: From yoga to movement songs to workout videos for kids, there's so much content out there that makes fitness fun and accessible!
We are so grateful for Allie's advice and can't wait to have another dance party with her soon. Be sure to check her out on Instagram at @recesswithallie and her website at Recess with Allie and you’re sure to be moving and grooving in no time!