How much physical activity does a child or adolescent need for optimal growth? Do you encourage your child to be physically active daily? Does this include both indoor and outdoor activities? If so, you are providing the right environment for healthy growth and development. According to the World Health Organization, up to 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
Do you know that over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016? This is preventable. And physical activity plays a key role in maintaining healthy weight.
What are some of the amazing benefits of physical activity?
Healthy bones, muscles and joints
Healthy heart and lungs
Better coordination and movement control
Maintain a healthy body weight
Do you know that physical activity also boosts a child’s grades in school? Check out the infographic below:
According to experts, children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. However, many activities keep children sedentary or inactive. Playing video games, watching TV, travelling by car, bus or train or schooling in an environment without playgrounds for long periods are not healthy for a child’s. These should be avoided as much as possible. Rather than encourage play under supervision, some day care centres or creche facilities strongly discourage physical activities. They sometimes compel the kids to sleep, lie down, sit still or watch TV for long periods.
What forms of physical activities are appropriate for your child?
For Babies-This should start before the child starts crawling (when they naturally become more active!)
- Reaching and grasping,
- Pulling and pushing,
- Moving their head, body and limbs
For Toddlers- They should have about 3 hours of activity daily. This should include both light and energetic activities.
- Standing up
- Moving around
- Rolling and playing
- Climbing frame
- Riding a bike
- Playing in water
- Chasing games
- Ball games
Most of these activities are suitable for children under five years too. They can also include dancing, gymnastics,sports,swimming and running.
Therefore, encourage your child to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety! Just make sure your child or adolescent includes both light and energetic activities daily for healthy mental, emotional and physical development.