Fitness & Exercise for Kids

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In the age of HD televisions , Hi-tech computers and Androids phones, its very hard to have time for physical exercise. The pressures of home and family life can make it feel like there’s little or no time for exercise. Both adults and children spend their spare time in playing video games and using several social media sites.

It used to be the time when you could easily find children playing around games like hide & seek, cricket, football and other indigenous games. Kids running on the streets, naturally burning calories and getting good amount of physical workout. But in today’s time, either your child is busy with mobile and computer as they are least interested in going for any physical activity, or you are not comfortable in letting your child go out on the streets. Another problem which parents face that kids don’t usually stick with exercise programs they are given by parents. That’s why we can see the bad effect of this lifestyle in our society as everywhere you can find children wearing specs in their early childhood, have obesity problem, vitamins and minerals deficiency etc.  So few questions arise here,

  • Do toddlers (1 to 3 yrs of age) and kids (4-12 yrs of age) really need physical exercise?   
  • How Much Exercise Do they really  Need?
  • Which type of exercise is best for you kid ?

Yes, toddlers , kids and even teens (13-19 yrs of age)  should be physically active. They need to exercise regularly to be physically fit. It doesn’t matter whether they are overweight or at a healthy weight, regular physical activity is considered by most experts to be an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Parents must consider exercise as a significant part of child’s daily routine as we add other dietary food and fruits to their daily diet. The benefits of lifelong exercise are immense and regular exercise can even help motivate your kids to make healthy food choices and it also helps in building confidence. Here are the benefits of regular exercise- 

  • Regular exercise reduces the risk of  several cardiovascular diseases, like coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack, congenital heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
  • It enhances the mental health, manage stress level, anxiety and depression.
  • Being physically active can help you achieve and maintain an ideal weight. It reduces the risk of diabetes and prevent childhood obesity.
  • Regular exercise also help kids in building strong self-esteem, better sleep, keeps you energetic whole day and increase the food appetite.
  • For example running is  good to increase bone density and reduces the risk of   osteoporosis – which is when bones become thin, weak and break easily.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teens should be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day. But remember, it  doesn’t have to be continuous activity of 60 minutes. You can divide these 60 minutes in different activities like if your kid play football  for 20 minutes in morning at school and then play cricket or basket ball with his friends for 40 minutes in the evening.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that toddlers get at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity i.e physical activities planned or directed by a parent includes clapping, stomping, jumping, walking, running, rolling, kicking, hiding, sliding, and moving around and at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity i.e activities that your kids do on his own, like when he actively plays with a new toy that gets him moving around,  riding tricycle, playing football, or even running after a puppy. Toddlers should actually be physically active for several hours each day and shouldn’t be inactive for more than 60 minutes at a time unless they are sleeping.

Please remember kids don’t need to run on a treadmill or do push-ups. Parents  should try to do simple activities to encourage kids, based on routine lifestyle like active free play and organized team and individual sports. Parents can try following things-

  • Play active indoor games like tag , hide and seek and dance activities.
  • You can enroll you kid to yoga classes, aerobics or dance classes.
  • you can go on morning and evening walk together, bicycling around , visit a local park.
  • Try to involve your kids in household works like Mopping, sweeping, cleaning, dusting or vacuuming.
  • Try to find out the interest of your child in any organised sport which can be taken as a career also. This could be a team sport, such as cricket, hockey or an individual sport, such as tennis, swimming, karate, or dance classes.
  • Enroll your child to play a sport where they are physically active like cricket club, swimming academy and badminton club.
  • Encourage kids to use stairs instead of elevators, walk to school or to their friend’s house instead of always being driven and promote the use of  bicycle.

Here are some videos showing few exercises –