According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – “Fitness” is a broad term that means something different to each person, In this article, we introduce kids fitness, as it refers to one’s own optimal health and overall well-being. Being fit not only means physical health but emotional and mental health as well. It defines every aspect of your health.
When most adults think about fitness, they imagine working out in the gym, running on a treadmill, or lifting weights. But when it comes to kids fitness, it means your child is eating well, getting a lot of physical activity (or exercise) by playing and having a healthy weight.
Doctors and Experts recommend children get at least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity to maintain good health and fitness and to maintain a healthy weight during growth.
Why Fitness is wise for Kids?
“Fitness for Kids is not Optional, Fitness for Kids is Essential”
Parents should encourage their kids to do a variety of activities so that they can work on all ‘The Three Elements of Fitness’
If you’ve ever watched kids on a playground, you must have seen all the three elements of fitness in action when they are playing tag chasing each other or crossing the monkey bars or it could be as simple as bending down to tie their shoes. Their energy increases the more they run, laugh and play.
Endurance happens when the child who is ‘it’ runs and runs until they tag one of the many kids running away oftentimes shrieking. When a child is breathing harder the entire circulatory and lung system gets stronger, making it easier to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells. This is one of the best examples of aerobic exercise.
Strength happens when a child is hanging from the monkey bars or when a child is pushing another on a swing. Muscles grow quickly, fat is kept in healthy check, and all the joints stabilize when a child is strong.
Flexibility is just as important as strength and endurance. Out on a playground, this happens when kids tie their shoes, stretch over bars and reach for balls. This gives them a full range of motion, allowing the muscles to be used alongside the rest of the body. It also provides a built-in warm-up and cools down to intense activity without even recognizing it.
Raising Fit Kids
Kids fitness measures the ability to carry out daily tasks with alertness and without undue fatigue and with sufficient energy to engage in leisure-time pursuits and the ability to perform at one’s fullest capacity. A combination of regular physical activity and a healthy diet along with nutrition lays the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle.
Physical activity is a conduit for nurturing your whole child. Any form of physical activity carried out for at least 60 minutes a day is vital for children’s health, wellbeing and development. Staying active at any age helps to promote overall health. Children are naturally active, and if you can get your child interested in any physical activity when he’s young, exercise and fitness are more likely to become habits that last for many decades.
What is Physical activity for kids fitness?
Physical activity is any activity that involves moving your body and it is an important part of play and learning for all children. It includes everyday activities, physically active play, and organized sports and exercise.
Physical activity guidelines for school-age kids recommend that they get 1 hour or more of moderate to strong physical activity daily, alternating with light activity or rest throughout the day.
– Most of the physical activity should be aerobic exercise, where kids use large muscles and continue for a period of time. It helps keep their hearts, lungs, and blood vessels healthy. It can also help them keep or get to a healthy weight. Examples of aerobic activities are running, swimming, and dancing.
– They should also participate in muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities, at least three days a week. Children naturally build strong muscles and bones when they run, jump, climb and play.
Through physical activities, kids learn about sportsmanship, setting goals, meeting challenges, teamwork, and the value of practice. Kids who tend to exercise have better chances of being healthy adults without chronic diseases.
How much physical activity do children need?
Beyond benefits to the body, physical activity also boosts a child’s mental and behavioral health. It increases a child’s enthusiasm and optimism and boosts self-esteem, school performance, attention and behavior. It also reduces anxiety, tension and depression.
Parents should make sure that their kids get enough physical activity or exercise in order to build strength, coordination, and confidence. The children and adolescents age 6 and older are advised to be physically active for 60 minutes or more each day, this can include free play at home, active time at school, and participation in classes or organized sports.
Toddlers and preschool children should play actively several times a day. Toddlers should get at least 60 minutes of active play every day and preschoolers should have at least 120 minutes of active play every day. This time should include planned, adult-led physical activity and unstructured active free play.
Young children should not be inactive for long periods — no more than 1 hour unless they’re sleeping. And school-age children should not be inactive for periods longer than 2 hours.
Tips on getting kids fitness conscious:
Many parents think of organized sports when they think of fitness. Though there are many advantages to signing a child up for a sports team, practice and games once or twice a week will not be enough to reach activity goals. Also, parents can no longer rely on physical education in schools to provide enough physical activity for kids.
Here are some ways to keep your kids moving at home:
– Make physical activity part of the daily routine. From household chores to an after-dinner walk, keep your family active every day.
– Allow enough time for free play. Kids can burn more calories and have more fun when left to their own devices. Playing tag and riding bikes around the neighbourhood, are fun and healthy.
– Keep a variety of games and sports equipment on hand. It doesn’t have to be expensive — an assortment of balls, hula-hoops, and jump ropes can keep kids busy for hours.
– Be active together. It’ll get you moving, and kids love to play with their parents.
– Limit time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching TV, using electronic devices, being online, and playing video games.
If you run out of possibilities at home, take advantage of local playgrounds and athletic fields. Make family fitness outings part of your regular routine. Let family members choose an activity — go hiking, swimming, roller skating, or try out the rock-climbing gym. Anything goes, as long as everyone can participate.