The arrival of smartphones and other digital devices has resulted in less physical activity for children. And the result is that they are growing into obese kids and adults.
The fact is that those kids who do not develop the habit of engaging in physical activity carry that habit into their adult life. And those kids who exercise at young age will continue that good habit in their adult life.
It is no less than a shame because the physical activity for children is a lot more fun than in the case of adults. The question we need to discuss is not whether your kids need physical activity but it is about how much they need?
Benefits of Physical Activity for Kids
Taking part in physical activities help in physical and mental development of the child. Some of the important benefits are:
- Keeps kids healthy and lean
- Muscles and bones get stronger
- Improvement in child endurance and cardio
- Improves flexibility of joints and limbs
All of these benefits of physical activity in children means that they grow up into healthier young adults. The best thing is that physical activity for kids can be anything like running around the house with siblings or friends, going on a ride at the park or playing football in the playground.
How Much Physical Activity for Kids
So how much physical activity for kids are we talking about here? United States Government guidelines for kids between the age of 2-5 years suggest that they need to be active every day and playing several times during the day. There can be short periods of activity followed by rest.
Generally speaking, parents need not worry about the physical activity of babies or toddlers because they are free souls and get active whenever they feel like when they are healthy. So the parents can encourage those physical activities that improve their motor skills.
As little infants develop into toddlers, parents need to more concerned that some physical activity is happening. General walking and running around the house and following mom to the kitchen all count as physical activity. Normally a toddler should be doing such activities for about an hour a day.
But it is also the time when parents must introduce planned play activities between 20 to 30 minutes. These activities may be quite simple like playing with a ball in the garden or playing with a ride-on around the house.
For preschoolers, the continued non-planned play activities are normal. But more importantly, the planned physical exercise for kids needs to be scaled up here. The duration of 30 minutes needs to be increased to about 60 minutes.
You can consider things like taking kids along to the market for shopping or simple running games in the garden. You should also allow child to choose the type of physical games he wants to play and honor that.
It is important that you try to instill this habit of physical activity in your child from an early age so that they start associating exercise with the normal daily activities. This will mean that they continue this healthy approach when they grow older.
Try to make the play activites for kids fun and they will happily get involved with these even without noticing that these physical activities are planned. In the whole process you get to have a healthier and happier child.