This question would seem strange, especially when by nature, children are restless. However, the increase in obesity has caused alarms to go on and to evaluate the factors that have made overweight among the children, an epidemic. The sedentarismo, is one of them. Here I tell you more about the importance of children exercising.
Jump, run, swim, play. All are normal activities for children who do not stop moving and exploring the world. The park, in essence, is the place where all the spontaneous physical activity among the little ones is concentrated. For those of school age, the activities at their school, such as gymnastics, dance and sports, also stimulate movement.
Exercise, combined with a healthy diet, is key to maintaining good health since childhood . However, the obesity epidemic that is increasing among children and young people has made this issue look at itself with a magnifying glass. How much exercise are our children doing? What is the ideal amount of physical activity you must do to stay healthy? These questions arise for several reasons. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation in the United States, an average child sees approximately 3 hours of television per day. That average child, in addition, spends 5 and a half hours in front of the screen of different media such as television, video and DVD, video games and computer outside school hours.
This means that in total, about 8 hours of your day are sedentary. This is worrying, because the more children are exposed to this type of media, the less exercise they will do and the more likely they are to suffer from excess weight problems.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting the time children spend in front of the screens and proposes that they be encouraged to go outdoors to play, to play a sport or to enroll in some kind of dance. martial arts or some other physical activity. In addition, it recommends that children under 2 years of age do not watch television and that children over 2 years of age do not watch more than 1 to 2 hours of television or other media per day.
The role of adults in keeping children active is key. You, as a parent, can have a determining role if you engage in physical activities with your children every day and make the exercise a regular schedule. A walk, go for a ride on a bicycle, run in the park, play ball, invite them to climb the stairs instead of using the elevator, or simply take them to meet their friends in the park is essential. It is also in your hands not to allow them to abuse electronic media .
For children to understand the importance of physical activity, you can talk to them clearly about health (according to their age), giving them specific data. For example, you can remind them that:
- Children who exercise have stronger muscles and bones
- Exercise helps to have a leaner body as it helps control body fat
- Physical activity makes you less likely to suffer from overweight and obesity
- Exercise significantly reduces the risk of suffering from chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes as well as being beneficial for having a normal blood pressure and a low cholesterol level.
- Exercise improves the mood and makes you feel happier
In addition to these data, it is a good idea that exercise is always related to fun. Dancing, swimming, jumping, walking, cycling, rollerblading, playing in the park, practicing some sport, are all fun activities and also offer other positive aspects for children’s lives such as making new friends or belonging to a group. And not only that, they improve the resistance, strength and flexibility of the children.
These are the recommendations regarding physical activity time for children:
- Infants: there are no specific requirements but it is important to emphasize that physical activity stimulates motor development. Playing with them according to their age to promote movement is ideal.
- Young children: one and a half hours of physical activity. It can be 30 minutes of planned exercise (swimming, jumping, running) and 60 minutes of free play.
- Preschoolers: 2 hours of planned physical activity and 60 minutes of free play.
- Children of school age: one hour or more that can be divided into intervals during the day.
Emphasizing that exercise, beyond being excellent for health, is the best way to have fun. Surely you can motivate children to stay active and avoid sedentary lifestyle .
Remember that exercise should ideally be accompanied by a healthy diet.