Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Excellence Begins Young

Active Children Become Healthy Adults

Your child has more energy packed away in that little body than you realize. In fact, children are naturally active and can’t sit still for long. If you can start and keep them active in their formative years, it can help form a lifetime of active living. For what is wealth without health?

What are the benefits of exercise?

Children instinctively like to play, run, skip and jump around. To them, that is exercise. The more the physical activity, the better their motor skills will develop. But all that can change when we let our children sit too long in front of the TV.

Did you know that an active child tends to:
Develop a leaner body with stronger bones and muscles

Maintain a healthy weight

Sleep better

Avoid obesity related diseases like cardiovascular disease later in adult life

If your home has a staircase, place the appropriate barriers until your child can manage the stairs unattended.

Have better self confidence

Be more alert

How long should your child exercise?

Toddlers should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise or activity daily. This can be broken up into 15 minutes of play each time

Preschoolers should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise or activity daily. This can be broken up into 30 minutes of play each time

What kind of exercise or activity should your child be doing?

Each child develops at his or her own pace. So it’s important to identify what your child can or cannot do and what skills are right for his or her age.

Generally, young children can walk, run, jump around, climb, kick and even throw a ball. Identifying their ability will help you plan their activity and play games that are appropriate for their age.

How to cultivate the habit to exercise?

The best way to get your child to enjoy more exercise is to spend some time playing with them.
Roll a ball around for your child to catch.

Play “catch” with older children.

Switch off the substituted “babysitter”. Many parents are guilty of using the TV as a substitute babysitter to distract their children. Remember that this will become habit forming.

Put them together with other children their age. Children naturally play together.

Let them play with “dirt”. Create a sandbox and fill it with sand. You will be surprised at how much time your child can spend in it. Make sure this activity is supervised as children have a tendency to put sand into their mouths.

Water! Children who can sit up love to play in an inflatable pool. Fill the water to no more than the height of your fist. Drop in some of your child’s favourite toys and you’ll have a child delightfully splashing around. Supervise and play with him or her as water can be dangerous for any child that has not learnt how to swim!

Credits to Lim Wei Liang

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