There are many different factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family. Along with eating healthy and getting enough rest, children should be participating in plenty of physical activity. Though most people likely relate physical activity to going to the gym or going for a five mile run, being physically active can be as simple as throwing a baseball or playing a game of tag. There are a variety of activities that encourage the three elements of fitness – endurance, strength, and flexibility.
Endurance: Activities that get your child’s heart pumping are great for building up their endurance. These activities can include going for a walk, playing basketball, baseball, swimming or going for a bike ride.
Strength: Many endurance activities will help with strengthening and toning your child’s muscles. Other activities could include indoor rock climbing for children, wrestling, or even just visiting the playground and crossing the monkey bars!
Flexibility: This is a very important element of fitness because it helps your child be able to move and bend easier as they are taking part in activities and will also help reduce the risk of injury. Children improve their flexibility during every day activities such as bending down or reaching, but families can also encourage children to stretch and improve flexibility by teaching them yoga.
Children who are active and take part in activities that encourage the three elements of fitness will see many different benefits. Research shows that a child that is physically active is more likely to sleep better, which is also important to a child’s health, and will also have a healthier outlook on life.
Other benefits of physical activity include:
- Controls weight and reduces risk of obesity
- Strengthens muscles and bones
- Improves energy levels
- Strengthens the lungs
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels
SHAPE America suggests these guidelines regarding how much physical activity children should participate in daily:
- Infants do have specific time guideline; however, they should be participating in activities that promote developing their movement skills.
- Toddles should engage in 1 – 1.5 hours of structured and unstructured physical activity.
- Preschoolers should engage in 1-2 hours of structured and unstructured physical activity.
At Educational Playcare, we understand the importance of Arts and Enrichment programs and how they are a vital component to a quality early childhood program. That’s why several years ago we started our Arts and Enrichment program at no additional cost that includes music & movement, yoga, and fitness. Our fitness program, Quack Pack, offers your child many different activities, ranging from traditional sports such as football and volleyball, to imaginative dramatic play activities using storytelling and props. Not only do children have a multi-sensory experience, they also enjoy positive social interactions with peers by taking turns, working with a partner and laughing together!
At home, families can also ensure their children are getting enough physical fitness by creating a routine that includes fun physical activities. Families can encourage simple ways to incorporate being active into their family’s everyday routine by taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking farther away from the entrance of a store.
What ways do your family stay physical active and healthy?