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An Active Child Is a Healthy Child

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An Active Child is a Healthy Child

Children enjoy being physically active. While they jump and climb and run and cycle, their bones and muscles grow and become stronger. So, exercise and play are an important part of a child’s physical, mental and social development.

Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles as to why children aren’t getting the basic amount of exercise. The increasing lure of screens and video games means that children more easily succumb to the couch than the playground. Lack of green spaces in urban settings also means less space for children to get out and play.

How does lack of exercise affect children?

  • Increases the risk of childhood obesity and cardiovascular diseases
  • Lowers immunity
  • Raises stress levels
  • Increases risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Causes mood swings
  • Causes weak muscle tone and bone strength
  • Lowers energy and makes the child lazy and sluggish
  • Increases risk of lung disorders

So how much exercise should a child get ideally?

Children above 6 should get at least an hour of physical activity every day*. It doesn’t even have to be all at once. Even up to 15 minutes of physical activity every other hour can prove beneficial.

How do we include exercise in our child’s daily schedule?

Unlike us, children do not need regimented exercise programs but get all their exercise from running, jumping and climbing. So, any physical activity that they enjoy and gets their little hearts racing is good for them.

  • 1. Healthy kids have healthy parents. So, if you are active and fit and take an active interest in play and sport, chances are your kids will too.
  • 2. Plan regular physical activities as a family. Take an after-dinner family walk three days a week or schedule a weekly trip to the pool.
  • 3. Encourage your child to take up a sport – any sport which they enjoy and allows them to interact with other children. Focus on fun rather than skill. When your child thinks of physical activity as fun he’ll be more likely to do it.
  • 4. Limit screen time and reward outdoor play time.
  • 5. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Take the stairs. Park further from the store and walk. Have your child participate in chores that involve physical activity, such as cleaning and gardening.

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