Keeping fit is important. Getting regular exercise helps you stay healthy, both physically and mentally. We all understand the benefits of staying in shape as we get older – but the same applies to kids, too. Children need regular exercise to burn energy and to ensure they grow into healthy adults.

Finding the motivation to get out and exercise with your foster child can be tough, but we’re here to help. Read on to find out our four tips and tricks for keeping fit with your foster child.

Get out and about with your foster child

 With COVID-19 restrictions tightening, the weather taking a chilly turn, and the evenings closing in, the temptation to stay at home and become one with the couch is huge. Resisting this urge is difficult, but necessary. Too much time indoors leads to a “closing in” for some people – they spend too much time in their own head. This can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.

Fresh air can help clear your foster child’s head, improving their mood almost instantly. Getting out and about can help stave off those anxious feelings being cooped up can create. It also helps ward off any COVID cabin fever that may be setting in. If you can, make getting out of the house for exercise a top priority over the next few months. Set a goal of getting out of the house every day – make it part of your routine.

Go for a walk in your local park, or even just get out into your nearest green space. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a hike up a mountain – there are dozens of family-friendly routes around the country. If you’re worried about the weather, invest in some affordable walking gear – Decathlon specialise in decently-priced kit, and it’ll allow you to face anything the Irish winter throws at you and your foster child.

Make your home into your gym

PE in your foster child’s school has likely been curtailed this year. As such, they will be in need of a new outlet for all their energy. One way to combat this is to make your home into your foster child’s own personal gym – with their own personal trainer, too.

Having your own personal gym and trainer may once have been the purview of millionaires and movie stars. With the dawn of YouTube, however, that has all changed. Now, your foster child can access countless videos of all forms of exercise – from Yoga with Adriene, to PE with Joe Wicks. Wicks has appointed himself the world’s PE teacher this year, and his videos – of which there are many – are a great place to start.

Most of these videos – in particular Joe Wicks’ – require no additional equipment. All you need is to clear a small space for your foster child to practice their exercises. The handiest spot for many families is in front of the TV. If you can get YouTube on your TV, all the better. Load up a video on your TV (or on whatever device you have to hand) and let the instructor take over. Pretty soon, your foster child will be star-jumping and sun-saluting with the best of them.

Harness GAA fever

This year, the GAA inter-county championship will take place throughout the winter months. While normally the highlight of the summer, taking hurling and football into the cold won’t diminish any of its power – in fact, for a nation so long deprived of its favourite sports, it may be more electrifying than ever before.

While uncertainties still abound about local club trainings, you can try and harness GAA fever within your household. Get a hold of a few hurleys, or invest in a proper football. Take them out with you on your regularly scheduled walks, or visit your local GAA pitch (if possible) in the evenings. Adding a ball to your walk – whether it’s a sliothar or a football – can make the “chore” of going outside a little more pleasant for your foster child.

Combine this with watching the Championship with your foster child, and you may imbue them with a love of the game that lasts a lifetime. Nothing encourages getting out and getting fit like seeing your heroes do it on the small screen every weekend.

Make it fun

Most importantly – you have to make exercise fun and fulfilling for your foster child. If you’re enjoying it, the likelihood is they will, too. As such, you need to find something that you all enjoy doing together.

If you find yourself dreading your weekly hikes, switch to mountain biking. If you can’t hack hurling, break out the soccer ball. Take your time finding the things you all enjoy doing – and then pursue the things you love. It can be difficult to begin your exercise journey – but once you’re on the road to fitness, you never look back.

If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, or if you have any questions about fostering with Orchard Fostering, please contact us today.