“As you may know, many children are overweight or obese and this has become a serious and common problem. A big part of it is that kids are becoming more sedentary. Many kids are just sitting around a lot more than they used to and many times watching video games. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8- to 18- year-olds watch about 4½ hours of television a day over 7½ hours on all screen media combined (TV, videos, and DVDs, computer and video games). Too much screen time and not enough physical activity add to the problem of childhood obesity.”
– Dr. Bob Lehman of Doc4Kids
Has your child been acting like a couch potato who sits for hours and does little to no physical movement in a day? If yes, you probably missed this section of Parenting 101. At least 1 hour of exercise daily is recommended for infants and toddlers alike. The guidelines for physical activity vary in type and duration as the child reaches school age.
Introducing the importance and benefits of exercise early in life can prevent sedentary habits and thwart the impending dangers of child obesity. Moreover, restricting movement for longer periods may delay your young one’s cognitive and motor development. In order for parents to stimulate the brain-muscle receptors of their kids, they should opt to start exercises during the formative years. The following are some examples of physical exercises you can do with babies or kids:
A newborn cannot be readily presented with some types of rigorous exercises. As a parent, you are required to participate in your baby’s physical activities. Try to incorporate simple movements wherein holding and rocking are involved. You may also carry your baby using a carrier or a sling while you exercise or take a walk.
During the second year, your child unlocks milestones crucial for his or her development. Basic movement skills like jumping, kicking, and running help your toddler build and improve the three key elements of fitness – endurance, strength, and flexibility. As pointed out by Dr. Lehman, “Make sure that your child stretches so as to help improve their flexibility. This allows the muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion.” It is also during this stage that your child begins to learn how to make toys work. Assist the kid in exploring his skills by encouraging him to play jump rope, ball games, dancing, stair climbing, riding bikes, and many more.
During the first five years of life, preschoolers must be exposed to various activities and environments. Making the most out of their movement skills prior to entering school is important as competition may start early on during school age. Enroll them in formal classes so they can progress on their own.
Exercising is not just for adults and is definitely not all about hitting the gym, lifting weights, and joining fun runs. For the little kids, exercise may simply mean playing and just about being active.