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Physical activity is the most important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Similar to healthy eating, physical activity prevents a lot of problems like heart diseases, strokes and cancer. Encouraging children to do some physical activity each day, helps them to become healthy and sets the foundation for good and healthy habits, that lasts a lifetime.
Physical activities are a very important part of play and learning, and vital for the growth and development of a child. Children are naturally very active and love to move a lot. Small babies start moving their bodies by three to four months of age and start hand and leg movements. Soon, they learn to crawl and eventually walk. As toddlers, children love to move around here and there, jump, climb and dance. However, they exhibit more structured and vigorous physical movement when they grow into preteens. This in turn, helps them stay fit and stay away from lethargy. Unfortunately, the recent lifestyles have caused children to dedicate more time to television, computer and gadgets. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that your preteen moves enough for a day and stays fit.
Importance of Physical Activity for Children
Children love to play and explore things around. Involving them in games, which involves some physical activities, benefits them not only in the present but also for the future. The various benefits of physical activity are:
- Healthy heart and lungs
- Strong muscles and bones
- Better body and mind coordination
- Improved flexibility and balance
- Reduced risk of obesity
- Reduced risk of heart diseases
Apart from physical fitness, children also stay mentally fit. It increases the likelihood of the following:
- Making the child more confident
- The child becomes happy and relaxed
- Sleeps better
- Has a balanced temperament
- Makes friends easily
- Concentrates more at school
- Becomes co-operative
Appropriate Physical Activity and Play Ideas for Children
Physical exercise may not necessarily mean strenuous exercise. The child must not have to be playing any organized sport or do any kind of workout. Playing free outdoor games with the help of some simple outdoor play equipments and spending time in the park and going out for walks are equally beneficial.
Simple physical activities and play ideas can include:
- Walking or riding a bicycle to school, rather than taking a bus or a car.
- Taking pets out for walk and play.
- Playing in the park and playgrounds instead of video games.
- Playing games like tag, run and chase, hide and seek, in the backyard.
- Indulging in extra curricular physical activities in school.
- One to one soccer or catching the ball game, on the weekends.
- You can also make them join classes that involve physical exercise such as yoga, dance and aerobics.
- Make him help you out with gardening for at least 45 minutes in a week.
- Get the child to clean up his room every week.
- Encourage him to take stairs in metro stations or your building, instead of the elevator.
- Swimming is a great way to stay fit. Make your kid join swimming classes and pick up some interesting swimming accessories. You can also reserve weekends for family swimming time.
Making your child get involved in physical activity is thrilling and filled with a lot of fun, not only for the child, but the entire family. So, make sure he follows a regime where there is less of television or video games and more of physical movement.