Sports Activities For COVID-19 Lockdown
Weekend soccer matches and swimming classes may be on hold for the kids but there are many things parents can do to keep their kids fit and healthy in a pandemic.
How much physical activity do kids need?
Australian government guidelines say kids aged 5 to 12 years old will need approximately 60 minutes moderate to high physical activity (mainly cardiovascular) in a day. Kids should also have at least 3 days in a week of vigorous exercise that promotes healthy bones and muscles.
Being physically active is good for children of all ages because it promotes physical health and social interaction. When children participate in sports activities, they are interacting with adults and peers. Sporting activities also teach children to follow instructions, work in a team and communicate with others.
In the uncertain times of a pandemic, exercising with the kids can help us maintain a healthy physical and mental balance. It is also a way to connect with our kids by organising a family-centric activity.
Here are some sports activities you can do with your kids:
Gyms and recreation facilities are still open today with strict restrictions but not every parent wants to take the risk with public spaces where social distancing is hard to maintain.
Walking and cycling
Walking and cycling are good alternatives that will give your family fresh air, sunshine, and plenty of cardiovascular exercises to stay healthy.
Sydney is an interesting city to explore by bike or on foot. There is a range of different walking and cycling trails that suit people of all ages and abilities.
Here are our 5 spots that are not in your local neighbourhood:
1. The Bay Run
One of the best for family outings, the Bay Run is a 7km flat walking and bike paths in inner Sydney West. It is busy on weekends so if you are planning to take the kids there please practise social distancing and wear a mask (children under 12 years are not required to wear a mask. You also do not put masks on pre-schoolers, toddlers, and babies).
The circuit can be completed in an hour if you do not have children with you. There are numerous parks along the route that offer public amenities like toilets, park benches, playgrounds, and picnic spots so the kids will not be bored. There are also cafes dotted along the route for a quick caffeine hit. Playgrounds are not a good idea in a pandemic, so bring a soccer ball, badminton set or frisbee to kids entertained at the pitstops.
Popular starting points Victoria Road, Nield Park (Grab a coffee at the pavilion to begin your walk), Robson Park, Timbrell Park, Rodd Park and Blackmore Oval. Use the map below to plan your outing:
2. Bicentennial Park (Sydney Olympic Park)
16km west of Sydney, Bicentennial Park offers a range of outdoor activities for families including walking and cycling trails, views, and bird watching. Activities that may interest you:
Treillage Tower – at the top you will have some spectacular views of the mangroves and the city
Peace Monument and Sundial
Café Waterview – for a takeaway coffee and hot cocoa (for the kids)
3. Manly Lagoon
Perfect for those lazy bike rides or walks with the kids without weaving cars. Start from the north end of Manly Lagoon and head south following the shoreline. The route is approximately an hour in duration. If you make it to Shelly Beach, it’s a great spot for a family picnic following strict social distancing rules of course. If you have older kids who can manage a long ride (2 to 3 hours), the Manly Dam is worth a visit. Don’t forget to bring food and water.
4. Pennant Hills West Pymble Fire Trail
The Fire Trail winds through the eucalyptus forests of Lane Cove National Park. It is a picturesque route with good cycling and walking trails. There are plenty of scenic lookouts along the way. We recommend a pitstop by Devlins Creek or Whale Rock for a leisurely family picnic.
5. Lady Carrington Drive
Located with the Royal National Park, Lady Carrington Drive offers awesome natural scenery. The track is 10 km long so bring refreshments. Start from the North at Audley, follow the Hacking River and end at Sir Bertram Stevens Drive in the south.
Parents can become the role models for their kids to take part in physical activities during COVID-19 lockdowns. Simple things like shooting hoops, kicking a ball, learning a dance, or practising yoga can all be done at home.
Here are some tips to help you kickstart a physical exercise programme at home:
Entice your kids outdoor by putting sports equipment where they can see it. For example, a basketball hoop over the garage door, a portable soccer goal or a tent on the deck
Encourage them to get on their wheels whether it’s a bicycle, tricycle, or a scooter
Turn your backyard into a sporting venue. Here are some backyard sports ideas: cricket, frisbee, soccer, touch rugby, basketball, throw and catch, trampoline, hula hoops, Pilates, yoga
Get creative. Swap balloons for balls, arrange an obstacle course challenge or a 50m dash competition
Where to find inspiration online
Here are some valuable resources to help you get started:
Sports Australia Find Your 30 Challenge – Fun challenges to help kids stay healthy and active
Ready Steady Go Kids – Preschoolers’ sport and exercise programme
Cosmic Kids Yoga – Cutesy yoga inspired by our favourite blue hero – Sonic the Hedgehog
Pop Sugar Family Fun Cardio Workout – Cardio fun for the whole family
Bounce Patrol – Cathy tunes and nursery rhymes to get your toddler jumping and bouncing
The Learning Station – combines education with physical movement. They are popular for their move and freeze song and ESL with dance and movement. Ideal for kids under 7 years of age
Dance Monkey Kids Zumba – All the latest dance moves for the kids.
ESSENTIAL CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION
NSW Government is advising all Sydneysiders to wear a mask in public if they cannot socially distance. When wearing a mask in public, please do not touch your face and always wash your hands before and after you touch the mask. To social distance safely, put 1.5m (or two arm’s length) between yourself and someone else. Strict hand hygiene (washing and disinfecting) can also keep us safe.
If you have symptoms, please get tested. You must self-isolate yourself before you get your results and continue to isolate if you have tested positive.
Read about how to wear a mask here.