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Why Wayde wants to get your family moving this winter

It’s easy for adults to become more sedentary over the cold season, but if your kids are feeling bored and cooped up, here are fun ways you can encourage each other to stay active – plus inspiration from Vitality Ambassador Wayde van Niekerk.  

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Discovery / Supplied

“Ever since the Olympic Games in August last year, and the gold medal and world record that were part of that special time in my life, I have been asked about my childhood,” says Wayde van Niekerk, current 400m record holder and Global Vitality Ambassador. 

“Was I sporty at school? When did I start showing the promise of being a future Olympian? I remember sport being part of my everyday life. I have a massive, sporty family. We all loved sports and took part in everything from football to cricket and rugby. I was fortunate and blessed to grow up with that focus on an active and healthy lifestyle, something which I’m very passionate about today.”

Wisdom from Wayde 

Wayde’s words from The Healthy Active Kids South Africa Report Card (HAKSA) 2016 are aimed at motivating parents and other adults to lead the way in promoting good health.

The HAKSA report reflects the best available scientific evidence from the last 5 years concerning physical activity and healthy eating in South African children and youth. It found that less than half of children play sport, and few do physical education at school; often because environments aren’t conducive. In addition, South African children watch TV for an average of 3 hours and day, with significant numbers watching 5 hours a day. 

Health guidelines state that children and adolescents need at least an hour or more of physical activity daily. Ideally, activity needs to be aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening. So if you’re looking for active things to do with your kids in winter, look no further. Here are some ideas: 

6 ways to keep your family active in winter

1. Dress up warmly and go for a walk, trail run or a bike ride in a nature reserve or park nearby. Take the dogs for a walk or just explore the beauty of nature in winter. To set yourselves a fun ‘goalpost’ to aim for, sign up for the Discovery East Coast Radio Big Walk and make a family day of it!

2. If it’s too cold to be outside, take the kids out for a fun day at an indoor play centre such as indoor wall climbing, ice skating, trampolining, ten-pin bowling, indoor swimming, indoor soccer, etc.

3. Motivate your kids to participate in winter sports either at school or a club to keep them active throughout winter. Find more tips to staying active this winter here.

4. Have a dance party at home: put on some music and get them to move to the beat with some slow and fast songs running on the spot, skipping and jumping to the beat. You can also download some videos online for guidance on some fun moves and exercises.

5. Shuffle some furniture around in the house or garage to create some space and play some indoor games, such as:

a. Balloon soccer or volleyball

b. An indoor treasure hunt or hide and seek

c. Beanbag throws to practice their juggling skills and hand-eye coordination

d. Sock tennis, soccer or cricket

e. Hula hooping (swing around the hips, climb through or jump through on one leg)

f. Use tape to mark out and play hopscotch

g. Build an indoor obstacle course using pillows, blankets, table and chairs to go over, under and around.

6. Try incorporate more physical activity into your day by taking the stairs, parking further away, walking further or for longer in the mall, and physical play with your kids. 

“As children, we all have dreams to live a successful life. Being healthy plays a massive role in that. And as parents, teachers, and role models, we should be the first to lead by example,” adds Wayde. Find more inspiration from him here and commit to #Winning Winter this season!

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