The benefits of physical activity for children

The myriad benefits that physical activity – coupled with a balanced diet – already offers people in general. However, there is now a growing debate about the need to encourage children to exercise at an early age.

If you have children, here are, before any other information, two important lessons to promote your health and well-being: each child needs about 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity days; No children should spend more than 2 hours a day on television or on electronic devices (computers, games, internet) and therefore prefer games that require movement of the body.

The reasons for this are countless! In Canada, for example, after some scientific studies, a consensus has emerged about the importance of physical activity for children. He agrees to other agreements in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia that show that practice is important because:

  • promotes growth;
  • Improves motor development;
  • Builds strong bones and muscles;
  • Maintains and develops flexibility;
  • Promotes proper weight maintenance;
  • Improves cardiovascular system;
  • Improves posture;
  • Promotes socialization;
  • Significantly improves self-esteem.

Nikolay Alexandre, a pediatric specialist from the Brazilian Pediatric Society, pediatric coordinator of the Santa Lucia Hospital (GMT) and professor of medicine, ESCS-FEPECS-SES-DF, reinforces the benefits of physical activity for children are numerous. "Some scientific work goes so far as to say that exercise is more important for reducing body fat than diet itself. However, we should never underestimate the importance of a healthy diet ", he says.

"In addition to improving the relationship between muscle mass and body fat, physical exercise provides better concentration and improves interpersonal relationships", the expert adds.

At what age can the child become physically active?

With all the benefits physical activity can offer, it is common for this question to arise: At what age can a child start exercising? And this leads to further questions, such as "How do I choose the job my son should do??".

Nikolay first emphasizes that children can start to become physically active as quickly as possible. "The activities should always be selected according to the age and taking into account the affinity of each child", he adds. Here are some important guidelines:

  • Children under the age of 6 are not prepared for organized sports with rules.
  • Between the ages of 2 and 5, children should engage in activities that promote motor coordination, such as running, jumping, rolling, throwing, and catching.
  • It is fundamental to respect children’s choices about the sport they want to practice. If the child practicing an activity he chooses, he does it with more interest. ◊ Are there any physical activities that are not suitable for children?

Nikolay says no. "Any physical activity that is carried out responsibly, under instruction and using protective equipment can be practiced by children", he emphasizes.

It is worth noting that after the child’s age, activities are more suitable, as cited above, and their desire should also be taken into account when choosing. (I.e., a tip is to speak to your child’s pediatrician, who will ask for all the necessary instructions before starting any physical activity. The specialist can also help with suggestions for more appropriate activities.

What are the precautions to practice physical activity in childhood?

Alexandre Nikolay explained that the practice of sporting activities should be carried out with the use of appropriate accessories for what they are: helmets, boots, knee pads, shoes with shock absorption, gloves, etc. "In this way we avoid or minimize trauma that can affect the entire life of the individual", he says.

It is important to forget about sunscreen during outdoor activities, the specialist says.

How can you encourage children to exercise? To know,

All the benefits that physical activity can provide to children, thereby increasing the need for adults (parents or guardians) to encourage them to exercise early in any way! And there are some tips that can help:

Serve as an example, especially active with children;

Inclusion of physical activities in family programs, even if for example a simple walk on Sunday morning;

  • If possible, encourage walking or cycling to school.
  • Always offer physical activity if the child complains that he is "has nothing to do";
  • If you have balls, kites, bicycles at home or in the car, there is never an excuse for you not to do any activity together;
  • always encourage your child, Switch TV, computer and video game for sporting activities;
  • When giving birth to a child, you prefer toys that stimulate physical activity, such as: B. skates, ropes, kites, plastic discs, etc.
  • Did you like the tips? These are simple suggestions, but they can certainly help children to lead a more active and therefore healthier life!

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