The current generation has seen the technology revolution which generations before could only dream of. Last two decades when every sphere of life has advanced to betterment, one important aspect which has greatly declined and that is the physical activities among children.
Dependency on technology and comfort of gadgets has reduced the opportunity for our kids to get involved in the physical challenges. Inactivity along with the unhealthy food options has created a perfect medium for health-related issues like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension among young kids and teenagers.
The problem is global and is steadily affecting many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The prevalence has increased at an alarming rate. As per WHO, Globally, in 2013 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 42 million. Close to 31 million of these are living in developing countries.
In short, the health of the future is under a serious concern and it is high time we put in our thoughts and efforts to control the epidemy. Various national and international authorities are analyzing and working on methodologies to curb the dangers of tapering the physical fitness of children. The core mantra of all possible remedial suggestions in this regards revolve around the word “Change”. The positive changes in our lifestyle and environment needed to be created at home, surroundings, and society aiming to generate more psychophysical opportunities for kids which will influence the physical and psychological wellbeing of younger generations.
Recommendations For Kinds
American Heart Association recommends all children age 2 and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day that are developmentally appropriate and varied. If your child or children don’t have a full 60-minute activity break each day, try to provide at least two 30-minute periods or four 15-minute periods in which they can engage in vigorous activities appropriate to their age, gender and stage of physical and emotional development.
Benefits of physical activity among children.
Physical challenges build and maintain healthy bones and muscles. It minimizes the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer. Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety and promotes psychological well-being.
A healthy body is home to a healthy brain. Physical activity help improve academic performance and self-confidence.
Young children spend the greater part of their time with their parents or other significant adults, at home and in childcare facilities. Consequently, both parents and or caregivers can have a strong influence on the child’s health behavior. They control the exposure to physical activity opportunities; they act as role models.
Research has shown that young children tend to be more active if their parents participate in physical activity and are active with them, and if they spend more time outside. This means that parents should model healthy physical activity behaviors by being active themselves, and by interacting with their children in physical activities such as bike riding, walking, and active play.
Exercise For Kids With Different Age Groups
Canada sports for life, in there long term athlete development program summaries the guidelines on physical activities for kids based on their defined stages.
Age 0- 5 years.
For healthy development in infants (birth to 1 year), physical activity – particularly floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth. Children in this age group should see physical activity as a fun and exciting part of everyday life.
For healthy growth and development, caregivers should minimize the time infants (aged less than 1 year), toddlers (aged 1-2 years) and preschoolers (aged 3-4 years) spend being sedentary during waking hours. This includes prolonged sitting or being restrained (e.g., stroller, high chair) for more than one hour at a time.
For those under 2 years, screen time (e.g., TV, computer, electronic games) is not recommended. For children 2-4 years, screen time should be limited to under one hour per day; less is better.
Age 5-18 years
For females in the age range of 6-8 and males, 6-9 are called to be in fundamental stage of life, children should develop fundamental movement skills, including the ABCs of Agility, Balance, Coordination, and Speed. Children should participate in a fun and challenging multi-sport environment.
Learning fundamental movement skills throughout this stage is key to the overall development of physical literacy. The ABCs of Agility, Balance, Coordination, and Speed are foundation blocks for developing fundamental movement skills.
Age group (females 8-11, males 9-12), children should be converting their fundamental movement skills into fundamental sport skills. This stage is “The Golden Age of Learning” for specific sport skills.
Children in this age group are ready to begin training according to more formalized methods. However, the emphasis should still be on general sports skills suitable to a number of activities.
In general, Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Most of the 60 minutes should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week. As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening activities, like climbing, at least 3 days a week and bone-strengthening activities, like jumping, at least 3 days a week. Children and adolescents are often active in short bursts of time rather than for sustained periods of time, and these short bursts can add up to meet physical activity needs. Physical activities for children and adolescents should be developmentally-appropriate, fun, and offer variety.
As we speak we are in the most evolved era as far as healthcare and medical facilities are concerned but it is wise to avoid availing curative healthcare facilities by preventing the health hazard which are in our control. Families and Schools should spend equal energy on efforts on the physical development of kids as on formal education. Making sincere physical activity a part of life since an early age is the best gift parents and teachers can give to the children, the future generation.