Regular physical activity is the key to healthy living and efficient learning. Running, stretching and climbing build endurance, flexibility and strength in children. Such activities not only make the muscles strong but also have positive effect on emotional and cognitive development. Most importantly their benefits carry forward for the rest of the life.
Role of Parents:
Parents are the role model for children. They spend most of the time with them. So, the parents strongly influence their child’s health. They decide their child’s routine. Their physical activity can be promoted by limiting electronic usage like television viewing, or playing on laptop, using i-pad or tabs. What is more important is that the parents themselves should participate in physical activities with the children because children enjoy and become more active if adults are involved with them.
If not daily then at least once a week children should be taken somewhere outside to enjoy and play. There are many outdoor exciting and enjoyable physical activities like cycling, swimming, skating, bike riding, trampoline jumping, playing games that involve running and much more. Even at home, there can be many activities that the parents and children can enjoy together like playing hide and seek, throw, kick or catch the ball, jumping ropes or just running and tagging each other. Infants and toddlers should not be kept inactive for more than one hour, except sleeping hours.
The Benefits of Physical Activity in Children
- Physically active child is less likely to be obese or overweight.
- Active playing helps bone growth and improves muscle strength.
- Such children have healthier heart and lungs.
- Physical activity boosts self esteem, e.g. there is a sense of achievement when he/she learns to catch a ball or ride a cycle.
- Children who actively participate in physical activities tend to have good decision making and problem solving capabilities at later stages of life.
- Research has shown improved class performance of children who actively participate in physical activities