Do you workout? We all know the importance of fitness and staying active. But, as a nation, we’re lagging when it comes to getting our heart rate up. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in Australia, two-thirds of adults are classified as overweight or obese and, when it comes to our children, a quarter are considered overweight or obese. But what about our daughters? Approximately one in four young children (5 – 17) are considered overweight. And sadly, it gets worse as girls head into their teenage years and become adults. Research conducted by the Australian Heart Foundation found that over a third of females in Australia aged 15 and over partake in low levels of exercise, representing just over 3 million female Australians. At the current rate, it’s predicted that 65 per cent of young Australians will be overweight or obese by 2020.
So why are these statistics on the rise? There’s a range of factors that could be contributing to the obesity epidemic. Firstly, there’s a reliance on poor diets made up of fast and processed foods and, secondly, we’re simply not exercising enough. Frighteningly, 70% of Australians are doing little to no physical activity a day. So, if there’s a culture of inactivity brewing, how do we engage our children to keep fit and active? And, if you have daughters, how do you encourage them to put down the iPad or get off the smartphone to get moving?
Let’s get our girls into fitness
There are many health benefits that come with partaking in regular exercise and keeping fit. Our previous blog highlighted the benefits of girls partaking in team sports. But there’s also plenty of opportunities for you to get out and about with your daughter, or even exercise together as a family. With regular physical activity, you’ll see an overall improvement in everyone’s fitness levels, flexibility and mobility. And, being active improves our mental state and overall mood. A number of studies have found that exercise can keep depression at bay by positively altering levels of chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones. Use these opportunities to go digital-free and cut out screen time. We’ve put together four fun ways that you can be working out with your daughter.
1. Get those steps up
Never underestimate the power of walking. Whilst the ‘10,000 steps a day’ concept is regularly debated, there’s no doubt that walking is a great way to keep active. Head to the local park or consider scoping out a beautiful bushwalk or hiking trail. And, it’s not only great for your health and wellbeing, but the perfect opportunity to have some quality mum-and-daughter time together.
2. Make a splash
Are you both water babies? Head down to your local ocean pool or indoor aquatic centre and do a few laps together. Swimming is a low impact workout – great for anyone that might be recovering from injuries. If you’re looking at improving your fitness, swimming is the way to go as it’s a great cardiovascular workout working the whole body. Laps not your thing? Why not have a bit of fun and partake in an aquatic aerobic class instead?
3. Start your day with ‘namaste’
This ancient practice, originating from India, is becoming increasingly popular for both its physical and mental benefits. Yoga’s philosophy is to bring the body and mind together and is specifically built around three elements: exercise, breathing and meditation. There’s an array of health benefits to practising yoga, including reducing stress and anxiety, improved concentration and better flexibility and posture and, yes, children and teens are encouraged to practice yoga. If your daughter is at stressful points in her life, for example starting high school or taking exams, yoga is a great way to calm the mind and learn to focus. So don your yoga pants, grab a mat and prepare for those sun salutations.
4. Hang ten together
Who doesn’t love the beach and the energy of the ocean? Here in Australia, we’re blessed with some of the best beaches in the world, so find your inner-grom and channel Stephanie Gilmore by booking in a surfing class together. Surfing is great for improving your cardiovascular fitness levels as well as building muscle and toning the whole body and is proven to reduce stress.
We’re for girls that love to move
At Lava Tribe, being active is part of our philosophy and we know that strong girls are empowered girls. For more workout or fitness ideas, head to the Girls Make Your Move website. This is an initiative backed by the Federal Government’s Department of Health to encourage girls to keep fit and healthy whilst finding a range of fun activities they can enjoy.