Children of school-going age require regular physical activity to develop their muscular strength, coordination, and self-esteem, establishing the foundation for a future healthy lifestyle. Their increasing autonomy allows them more control over their level of activity. It’s essential for children in this age group to have ample opportunities to engage in a diverse range of activities, sports, and games that appeal to their individual interests, capabilities, age, and personality.
Collaborate with your children to formulate ideas for suitable activities. The majority of children will be receptive to daily physical activity, provided it is enjoyable. The physical activity guidelines for children of this age recommend at least an hour of moderate to intense physical activity each day.
A significant portion of this activity should be aerobic, involving the use of large muscles for a sustained period. Running, swimming, and dancing are all examples of aerobic activities. Throughout the day, children often alternate between periods of moderate to intense activity and periods of lighter activity or rest.
Any moderate to intense activity contributes towards achieving the 60-minute target. Activities that strengthen muscles and bones should be included at least three times a week. Children naturally build strong muscles and bones through running, jumping, and playing. While formal weight programs are not necessary, they can be beneficial if appropriately designed and supervised.
Luckily, Vuly Play offers a variety of outdoor play equipment, like jungle playground equipment, that can help incorporate exercise into your child’s daily routine. From trampolines to swing sets, there are plenty of options for children to stay active and have fun at the same time.
Enhancing Fitness in the Comfort of Home
Oftentimes, the concept of fitness is associated with organised sports by parents and children. And while enrolling a child in a sports team comes with numerous benefits, the practices and games once or twice a week are unlikely to fulfil the recommended activity levels. In addition, relying on school physical education to provide our kids with the necessary physical activity is increasingly becoming less feasible.
So, how can we ensure our kids stay active while at home? Here are a few strategies:
- Incorporate physical activity into the daily routine. This could be anything from carrying out household chores to taking a stroll after dinner – aim to keep the entire family moving every day.
- Allocate sufficient time for unstructured play. Children can burn more calories and have a better time when they’re allowed to engage freely in activities. Playing games like tag, biking around the neighbourhood, or building a snow fort can be both enjoyable and healthy.
- Keep a range of games and sporting equipment readily available. This doesn’t necessarily require a big budget – a collection of items like balls, hula hoops, and skipping ropes can provide hours of entertainment.
- Engage in activities as a family. Not only will this help you stay active, but children also enjoy playtime with their parents.
- Limit the amount of time spent on sedentary activities such as watching TV, playing video games, or scrolling on electronic devices.
- If you’re short on options at home, take advantage of local playgrounds and sports fields. Regular athletic outings with the family can be a great way to keep everyone active.
- Allow every family member to choose an activity, whether that’s hiking, ice skating, or visiting the local rock-climbing gym. The key is to choose activities where everyone can participate.
Finally, remember that by maintaining your own regular exercise routine, you’re setting a positive example for your children, emphasising the importance of staying active.
Fostering Childhood Fitness Through Physical Engagement
Physical activities serve as a crucial learning platform for children, offering lessons in sportsmanship, goal-setting, overcoming challenges, collaboration, and the significance of regular practice. When planning such activities, always take into consideration the child’s age and development stage, natural aptitudes, and interests.
Children aged between 6 and 8 years are in the process of mastering essential physical skills such as jumping, throwing, kicking, and catching. Some children might find joy in executing these skills within the structure of a sports team. However, for this age group, leagues that stress participation and enjoyment over competition are more suitable. As a parent, your support can be immensely motivating, whether it manifests as coaching their team or cheering for them during games.
For children aged 9 to 12 years, the focus shifts towards refinement, enhancement, and synchronisation of their skills. While some children may develop a deep passion for a particular sport during this phase, others might lose interest as the competitive element intensifies and the skill level escalates.
However, if a child does not express interest in traditional sports, it’s imperative to explore alternative avenues for them to stay active. A child who isn’t fond of soccer, basketball, or other team sports might find activities like karate, fencing, golf, biking, skateboarding, and tennis more appealing. The goal is to ensure they remain active and engaged, no matter the mode of physical activity.
Mitigating Risks Amidst Sports Participation
Children involved in sports can encounter potential harm, making it vital for them to use appropriate safety gear, including helmets and protective pads, when indulging in activities like roller-skating. Children who exclusively focus on a single sport may face the risk of overuse injuries, encompassing stress fractures and joint problems.
Inclusivity is key – a child with a chronic health issue or disability should not be barred from participating in fitness activities. Certain activities may require modifications, while others could be overly hazardous depending on their condition. It’s essential to consult your doctor to ascertain which activities are safe for your child.
Children who develop a fondness for sports and exercise are likely to maintain an active lifestyle into adulthood. Being fit can enhance academic performance, cultivate self-confidence, prevent obesity, and ward off severe health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases later in life.
Should your child express discomfort during or after physical activity, it is crucial to seek medical advice.