5 Unique Activities For Kids that Encourage Health and Fitness

In the digital age, we have benefitted immensely from a wealth of advanced technology. Unfortunately, this has led to the current generation spending more time than ever indoors. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few unique activities — from outdoor paintball to rock climbing — that encourage improved health and fitness.

Gym memberships are more popular than ever (many of which remain unused) thanks to the rise of various health and fitness trends. But to the engaging nature of video games and entertainment systems, there’s still plenty of people spending a significant amount of time on the sofa. As a parent, this can be a concern, especially as obesity amongst children continues to rise at an alarming rate.

This doesn’t mean you need to be forcing your kids to pump iron and run miles every day, but finding exciting activities that also happen to be a fantastic workout is a great way to encourage fitness in a fun environment. The following activities offer a unique sense of excitement that provides benefits for the health and fitness of children, and teaches them valuable life skills.

1. Rock Climbing/Bouldering
Rock climbing is in no way a new or revolutionary leisure activity, yet it remains an extremely popular pastime for a wide range of age groups. The objective is simple: climb to the top of the wall, but that’s where the simplicity ends. Making your way to the top of a climbing wall is no easy task, and it requires plenty of upper body strength and creative thinking to be successful.

If your children aren’t particularly fond of heights, or would just prefer to climb without the palaver of harnesses, then bouldering is the perfect alternative. Instead of climbing a high wall, the goal is to navigate your way across a boulder-shaped structure. While this does lack the adrenaline rush of being suspended high above the ground, it certainly makes up for it with a need for creative thinking and motivation to succeed — both of which are fantastic life lessons for children.

2. Martial Arts
In recent years martial arts has had a resurgence thanks to MMA (mixed martial arts) organisations like the UFC. This has led to many people of all ages embracing martial arts such as Muay Thai Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Karate, and many others. While some people will have initial concerns about their children being put in combat-style situations, it’s important to remember that these activities are undertaken as a way to keep fit, rather than to fight.

Aside from the fitness benefits of martial arts, they also provide children with a self-confidence boost, an avenue to focus their energy, and due to the difficult nature of these activities, it shows them the benefit of commitment. Your children’s safety is also something that benefits greatly from martial arts, as they will learn self-defense techniques that may prove to be useful one day (but let's hope not!).

3. Kids Paintball
Are your children fond of the outdoors, love to embrace exciting activities, and are fans of combat-style video games and movies, kids paintball is the perfect alternative to a day on the sofa. With expertly-designed battlefield environments to explore a range of authentic combat scenarios to engage, outdoor paintball offers an unrivalled experience.

Aside from the benefit of being an enjoyable day out, paintballing also happens to be a fantastic form of exercise. With the need to continually be on the move and use your surroundings to gain an advantage, paintball is a full-body workout like no other. It’s also worth noting that safety is always the top priority, which is why kids paintball features reduced-power weapons.

4. Hiking
When you hear ‘unique activities’, you tend to think of modern pastimes such as extreme sports. But as fewer people spend time outdoors, activities that once were considered to be conventional are becoming more unique. A prime example is hiking: a great activity for anyone looking to embrace their inner outdoorsman, see some delightful scenery and stretch their legs.

In the UK, we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful countryside, scenic mountainous regions and plenty of charming towns and villages. No matter where you live, there will be a hike-worthy location nearby. Walking is also brilliant for exercise, stress relief, and helps to encourage creative thinking — all of which will prove to be phenomenal for your child’s health and well-being.

5. Parkour
Out of all the activities in this post, parkour may just take the top spot as the most unique of the bunch. It first appeared on a mainstream level in the late 1990s and, from there, captivated a broader audience thanks to increased media coverage (the opening chase scene in Casino Royale, for example), and has now been accepted as one of the newer additions to the world of extreme sports.

There is no shortage of inspiration for newbie parkourers, thanks to the thousands of amateur and professional videos online. There is also a large number of parkour centres all across the UK, providing a safe and immersive environment for kids to hone their skills and hang out with friends. The movement and energy required to excel at parkour are what makes it such a beneficial sport in regards to fitness, happiness and flexibility.

Are your kids spending too much time indoors? Or bored of their current routine? Introducing them to a new activity is an excellent way to encourage health and fitness, improve their mood, teach them the benefit of commitment, and also allow them to socialise with a wide range of people. All of the activities above have their individual benefits, so you’re bound to find something to suit the needs of your children.

*This is a collaborative post

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