We all know how important exercise is for children. There has been plenty of research showing that kids who develop healthy exercise habits at a young age are more likely to be fitter throughout their lifetime.
With technology and screens creeping into children’s lives earlier and earlier, promoting exercise at an early age is essential for both their physical and mental development.
How much exercise is required?
Some children always seem to have bundles of energy, but others may require a little more motivation to get involved with physical activity.
How much exercise a kid needs is usually based upon their age. Based on the following health guidelines children should be looking at:
Infants – Intermittently active through crawling, reaching and pushing.
Toddlers – Those who walk unassisted should get at least 3 hours of physical exercise a day. Aged 5 – 18 – At least 1 hour of physical activity a day ranging from moderate to energetic.
Why is exercise important?
Physical exercise has proven distinct health benefits. This is especially true with kids as it significantly aids in their growth and development.
Some of these important factors include:
- Improving cardiovascular capacity
- Keeping bones strong
- Decreasing bodyfat
- Control and balance mood swings
- Increasing concentration
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Sustaining energy levels
- Self-esteem and social interactions
Making Exercise Fun
One of the best ways to get kids out and about is to make exercise as fun as possible. Integrating physical activity into their playtime is a sure way for them to get the necessary required time for their development.
Here are just a few ways you can ‘disguise’ exercise as playtime.
Use Play Equipment
One of the easiest ways to get kids out and moving is to invest in some form of play equipment. There are a range of different options available that can fit all ages and interests. For example, you could buy a trampoline or perhaps you could try your hand at building a sandpit for the kids to play in.
Of course, you can also utilize a range of free play equipment at your local park or recreation center. Perfect also for a family day out.
Get Your Groove On
One of the best ways to get moving literally is having kids dance to their favorite songs. A large range of health benefits have been documented from dancing, as it builds muscle, endurance and a total body workout.
Even better, dancing is great for all ages and allows for form of creative self-expression so find some tunes and dance with the beat.
Share the wonder of nature by getting kids into the garden and letting them get their hands dirty. Planting flowers or trees, digging holes, weeding, there are range of physical activities that can be done when in the garden. And there are whole range of benefits as well.
Let children choose the flower bulbs they want and spend an enjoyable out in the sun. Gardening also assists with sensory awareness in the form of touch and smell.
Join a Sports Team
The most obvious way to get children involved in exercise but can often be overlooked. Local sporting communities are fantastic for a child’s development for many reasons, especially fostering teamwork and social skills.
If officially joining a team is out of the question, see if you can organize with other parents for a day out with the kids and a ball. This is another great opportunity for new friendships to be forged.
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