Never ending weeks leave us exhausted beyond belief and with little energy to do anything besides eat and sleep. Tough days at work are no rarity, but when they become the norm, there’s an issue. Stress and the burden of responsibilities can make us feel tired and uninterested in being active. Fair enough — we’re human after all. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is worse for you than you think, though. The worst part is how our children have begun modelling their behaviour after us. When they see us morphing into couch potatoes after work or on the weekend, they don’t question it. Worse still, they adopt the behaviour. Physical activity is critical for children, their growth, and their health. According to the American Heart Association’s 2018 revised physical activity guidelines, preschoolers (generally children that are 3-5 years old) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. It falls upon the adult caregivers to encourage active play, in a variety of ways. As they get older, kids above 5 years should participate in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday. These guidelines are vital for your children! Here are a few of the ways you can encourage them to go outside and play, and the ways it’ll benefit them.
1. Aerobic Activity
Aerobic activities include running, hopping, skipping, swimming, or even dancing. They primarily target and improve cardio respiratory fitness. When children are engaging in activities like these, it’s about quality more so than length of time. If a full 60 minutes are spent doing vigorous, intense, aerobic physical activity, then that’s all that really matters. If repeated three days a week, you can build your childs stamina and keep health issues like asthma at bay.
2. Bone Strengthening Exercises
As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, bone strengthening exercises should be done at least 3 days a week as well. These are exercises which produce force upon the bones, which in turn promotes healthy bone growth and strength in young kids. These activities include playing basketball or football, jumping rope, hopscotch, dancing, and even martial arts.
3. Muscle Strengthening Exercises
Similar to bone strengthening exercises, muscle exercises target different muscle groups and strengthen them. Different activities serve different purposes for your childs physical health, as you can see. These should also be repeated three days a week, in durations of 60 minutes or more.These exercises put more pressure on the muscles than average daily activity. Climbing trees, playing tug of war, and sit ups are good, healthy ways for your children to pass the time.
Tips For Encouraging Healthy Physical Activity In Kids
- Be a role model and adopt physically active lifestyle yourself! Children want to mirror their parents and copy their habits, so lead by example and show them how it’s done. Involve your kids in daily physical routines with you as well.
- Talk to them like adults. Explain how a sedentary lifestyle, prolonged periods of sitting, and too much screen time can all damage their health.
- Take the initiative yourself if they seem unwilling, and enrol them in football or cricket clubs, or other after school activities. This way they can play with other children their age too.
- Increase the level of physical activity they engage in gradually over time to meet the requirements of the guidelines listed above.
- Be extra careful and vigilant around them when they are playing sports of engaging in any activities by making sure they have access to all the appropriate sports equipment they need. Choose a safe environment that places value on following rules and regulations, is accredited, reviewed, and vouched for by other parents you know.