Physical Activity

The Importance of Physical Activity for Children

29 July 2022
Posted by: Chelsea

Physical Activity helps in keeping your child as active as possible.

In fact, the importance of physical activity for children can’t be overstated. it’s essential for both their physical and psychological development.

Why Physical Activity matters – physical considerations

It has been known for thousands of years that physical exercise is essential for good health in all age groups.

In the case of children, it generates:

  • growth and development of the musculature and skeletal structures;
  • a healthier cardio-vascular system;
  • a more robust respiratory system;
  • improved hand-eye and overall physical coordination;
  • possible benefits to the immune system;
  • improved Vitamin D levels (if exercise is taken outside in the sun).

That’s an impressive list and a powerful reason for aiding your children to get exercise.

Psychological considerations

It doesn’t end there though. Physical exercise in children can also help with:

  • the development of self-confidence in terms of bodily control;
  • improved social skills through exercises that involve others;
  • a more developed sense of psychological self-confidence and the potential to succeed.

Why this is especially important in the 21st century

In wealthier societies, around 60-70 years ago a revolution took place. That involved the sudden mass availability of passive home entertainment systems like radio, TV and more recently, PCs and the internet etc.

Almost overnight, children had a vast world of no-exercise entertainment suddenly become available to them. Prior to that, most children had spent huge amounts of time playing various games that usually involved chasing around outside of the home.

The effects of this over time have been hotly debated but many experts argue that it is, at least partly, behind rising childhood obesity and reduced levels of basic childhood physical fitness that are sometimes commented on by schools.

This is not to say that these forms of entertainment are evil – simply that they need to be proportionately balanced against exercise-based childhood recreation.

Children need exercise appropriate to their characters

Children need exercise but not always of the same type. That’s because their interests and personalities will differ.

Some children love exercise that involves competition. Cricket, football, baseball, racing, and chase-and-catch, are all good examples where children will try and compete while they’re exercising.

For many other children, that type of exercise activity perhaps won’t appeal. It may be that they simply don’t have the physical prowess to compete with their peer group. Perhaps their character is such that they simply don’t like competition and the ‘rough-and-tumble’ that sometimes accompanies it.

If so, don’t try to force them. There are plenty of other things that involve exercise without competition. Examples include walking, safe climbing walls, swimming, jogging, junior yoga, building play dens and so on. Many of these will give exercise in a co-operative rather than competitive environment.

Make the time

Parents have a huge role to play here – particularly for children under about 7. That inevitably brings up the questions of both time and leading by example.

Nobody can say how you can do this but it is imperative you find the time to facilitate your child’s physical activity. That might be as simple as just giving them and their pals a lift to sports grounds etc.

More meaningfully, if you can find the time to regularly engage with your children in some form of physical activity, even if it’s only a lengthy walk, they’ll love it and it will be helping their development and health at the same time.

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