Exercise is an important factor in maintaining good health. It promotes muscle development, and flexibility. It can also help to relieve stress, improve mood and plays an important role in preventing obesity. These benefits aren’t just preserve grownups; children also need to exercise their bodies.
According to pediatric experts, keeping babies in environments that don’t promote physical activities such as using strollers and play pens too often hampers their mental and physical development. Exposing your children early to physical activity whether as toddlers, infants or school goers improves their chances of healthy development as they grow. As you exercise with your 2 or 5 year old kid, it presents an opportunity for you to bond with them. It is also an opportunity for psychological and physical learning for the kid.
During the infancy and toddler years, the brain develops connections and pathways with the muscles. This development is hampered if the child is not physically engaged in activity and the child doesn’t develop strong connections that make physical activity easier. It also makes them more likely to be active in their adult years and reduces chances of them being obese in later years.
Below are some ways you can make sure your kids are active and getting enough exercise.
- Don’t restrict your infant’s physical movement by continuously keeping them in restrictive settings. Exercises such as finger towing, tummy time and elevated head can help keep the baby active. Simply laying your baby on his stomach on a firm surface will encourage him to get up on his fore arms and to study his environment. It is also a way to encourage him to begin crawling.
- Between 6 and 12 months old, exercises such as the tug up can be carefully and gently done. Creating an environment where the baby can freely crawl around keeps him active even as he explores his environment and learns new things.
- Give your toddlers at least 30 minutes of physical activity. Even simple activities such as taking short walks outside with him when he can walk can have a big impact on his physical and psychological development. It can also help soothe a fussy child. For your toddler, exercises such as the lay back, stroke and hug, hip lift and head to toe exercises can help keep your baby active and healthy. Preschoolers require at least 60 minutes of physical activity.
- Too much TV is not recommended for both children and adults. Find interesting things to do with your kids away from the TV. Depending on their age, you can have them help you with minor chores around the house or race and play with them outside.
It is important to note that kids’ bodies are sensitive and still developing and so cannot be subjected to the same degree of exercise that adults can. As you encourage physical activity and exercise for kids, make their safety a top priority. Know what is safe for them to do. You should know the limits of how much they can exercise and stop to prevent damage to their delicate bones, muscles and cartilage. Also note that rest is important so allow them to do so when they seem tired and enjoy some appropriate entertainment on the TV.