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Benefits of physical activities for kids

When grown-ups think about exercise, they visualise working out in the gym, running on a treadmill, or lifting weights. But for children, exercise equals playing and being physically active. Children exercise when they have PT class at school, during recess, at dance class or sports practice or while riding bikes. Physical activity is vital for a child’s development and lays the foundation for a healthy and active life.

The benefits of being active for young children include:

  • Promotes healthy growth and development

  • Helps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight

  • Builds strong bones and muscles

  • Improves cardiovascular fitness

  • Improves balance, coordination and strength

  • Maintains and develops flexibility

  • Improves posture

  • Assists with the development of motor skills

  • Helps to establish cognitive function

  • Improves concentration and thinking skills

  • Improves confidence and self-esteem

  • Relieves stress and promotes relaxation

  • Provides opportunities to develop social skills and make friends

  • Improves sleep.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) offers these activity guidelines for infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers:

Age

Minimum Daily Activity Comments
Toddler 1½ hours 30 minutes planned physical activity and 60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)
Preschooler 2 hours 60 minutes planned physical activity and 60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)
School-age 1 hour or more Break up into bouts of 15 minutes or more


Proper nutrition and regular physical activity are the answers to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing health problems.

  • Encourage your child to discover physical activities he or she enjoys and get active.

  • Aim for at least 1 hour of active play every day.

  • Limit your child’s time using a TV, computer, cell phone, or game station to no more than 1 to 2 hours a day.

  • Set a good example by limiting your own screen time, too.

  • Physical activity should be part of your whole family’s lifestyle.

  • Take a walk, go for a bike ride, or do chores together. Plan active family outings.


References
Kids and Exercise. © 1995-2017 The Nemours Foundation. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/exercise.html

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