child engaged in physical activities

In present time It is very important to ensure that children should live active lifestyle as they are living in digital era. To have physical activity in a child’s life is very important for their good health it keeps them active as well as has a very prominent role in a child’s development. in this article the importance of physical activity in children’s life has been described as well as the strategies are given to incorporate physical activities in to daily routine of children.

The Importance of Physical Activity for Children

Physical Growth: Physical activity plays a very important role for physical growth of children. Exercise for children and other physical activity can help to build Stronger muscles and bones. developing a good physical the foundation in younger age can decrease risk of bone related disease like osteoporosis later in life.

Fitness: Physical activity it can help to maintain appropriate weight of a kid as well as it promotes flexibility and stability to body. It also provides strength to perform daily task.

Mental health: Physical activity results in the release of certain neurotransmitters that help to brain good mood and create positivity.

Increasing Motor Skills: For younger children physical activity helps to develop which is responsible for helping them in two basic movements in daily life the enhancement of a child’s motor skills can result in attaining faster movements like fast writing or rapidly tying shoelaces.

Academic Performance: Physical activity in children can improve cognitive functions and concentration that result in achieving good academic performance. The memory has also observed to be improved.

Better Posture: physical activity can improve a child’s posture by increasing spine strength. In a long term good posture you can prevent your body aches due to bad posture.

Social Skills: Physical activity Helps to increase social skill of a child. for instance taking part in sports or any fitness class increase communications communication with other children by which a child can learn teamwork and adopt leadership skills.

How much physical activities do children need?

World Health Organization (WHO) recommends physical activity according to the child’s age which is given below.

Children below five years old

  • Infants less than one year should be physically active several times per day in a number of ways like interactive floor based play. The children who are not mobile should be in prone position which is called as tummy time for 30 min limit per day when they are awake.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., prams/strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a caregiver’s back).
  • Screen time is not preferred.
  • Engage in reading or story telling is recommended.
  • Have 14-17 hours (0-3 months of age) or 12-16 hours (4-11 months of age) of good quality sleep, including naps.

Children 1 to 2 years of age

  • Should spend 180 minutes (not continuous) in a variety of types of physical activities per day.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., prams/strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a caregiver’s back) or sit for extended periods of time.
  • The one year old child should not provide with video games.
  • Engage in reading or story telling is recommended.
  • Should have 11-14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake-up times.

Children 3-4 years of age

  • Should spend 180 minutes (not continuous) in a variety of types of physical activities per day.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., prams/strollers) or sit for extended periods of time.
  • Screen time should be no more than 1 hour; less is better.
  • Engage in reading or story telling is recommended.
  • Have 10-13 hours of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with regular sleep and wake-up times.

Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years

  • Should involve in physical activity for an average of 60 minutes per day including aerobics, physical activity throughout the week.
  • Should involve in vigorous-intensity aerobic activities, as well as those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 days a week.
  • Should limit the amount of screen time.

Strategies To Incorporate Exercise Into a Child’s Daily Routine

It is challenging for parents to encourage children for physical activity as they are living in digital time and like to be more on screen. But physical activity is very important for their physical as well as mental health. There are some strategies by which parents can incorporate physical activity into child’ routine.

Exercise into Everyday Tasks

  • Instead of using car drive to school ask your child to make habit of going school by walking or cycling if school is located nearby.
  • Take help of your child in household work that requires physical work like gardening, sweeping and washing car etc.
  • Use stairs instead of elevator.

Games With Family

  • Arrange a family game activities like charades, treasure hunts, or dance-offs.
  • Set hula hoops, cones, and jump ropes in backyard.

Sports Club

  • Encourage your child to join a sports club in order to foster interest in physical activity and provide structured, age-appropriate coaching.
  • Encourage your child to participate in recreational activities they enjoy, such as swimming, soccer, or martial arts.

Limit Screen Time and Encourage Active Breaks

  • Set limits on screen time including television, video games, and smartphones.
  • Encourage breaks every hour for physical activity.
  • In breaks ask children to have some simple exercises like jumping jacks, squats, or stretching.

Fitness With Family

  • Plan regular family fitness activities involving hiking, jogging, biking or playing sports together. This will increase interaction among family members as well as improve health.
  • Play active games in the ground on weekends.

Play Time

Allow children to play daily for some specific time. Play time includes playing in ground, cycling or riding bikes.

Parents as a Role Model

Parents should be the good example for children by being physically active. Children follow parents in many aspects. Set your own exercise routine and indulge with children in physical activities like practice yoga together and do walk together.

Final Thoughts

Physical activity into child’s daily life is very essential for their health presently and also in long term. Therefore arrange activities that include physical activity and create opportunities for physical activity at home, consider enrolling your child in a gym of children or suggest them to join swimming class or dance class or other classes like that so they can remain active physically and mentally.

By Dr. Mehwish Murad Ali

Hey there! 👋 Dr. Mehwish Murad Ali here, rocking the world of pharmacology as a PhD scholar and spreading my passion for knowledge as an Assistant Professor at Ziauddin University. When I'm not unraveling the mysteries of science, you can catch me sharing my insights on parenting hacks and embracing the magical chaos of family life at Cuddle Pixie. Let's embark on this parenting journey together!