Given the increasing numbers of children who are either overweight or obese and with higher rates of serious diseases in children, parents are increasingly interested in how regular exercise can help.
The UK chief medical officer guidelines recommend that children between 5-18 years old be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. This refers to moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity, from light cycling to swimming laps in a pool.
How much physical activity should children do in school?
It is suggested that children achieve at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity in school and at least 30 minutes outside of school. With children spending most of their week in school, it is essential that schools play an active role in promoting a healthy lifestyle and give pupils plenty of opportunities to be physically active during school time.
Why is physical activity so important for children?
Physical activity has countless health benefits for children. Not only does exercise improve a child’s overall health and fitness, but it can also help to improve their mental health and cognitive development as well.
Starting healthy habits and routines when they’re young means children are more likely to continue being active long into adulthood.
What type of exercise should children be doing?
We should be trying to minimise the time children spend sitting down watching t.v. playing video games, amount of sleep the child is getting, and eating unhealthy foods.
Exercising for children is different than adults. Children can complete their daily amount of exercise needed by playing games and running at lunch time, taking part in extracurricular activities, PE lessons, basketball, swimming, running, tennis, walking/cycling to school, all of these are easy ways of making sure your child is active whilst having a good time.
Children should be doing exercise that is fun. If the activity they are taking part in is fun and enjoyable they are more likely to want to take part again. Benefits of physical activity for children
Here are some of the key benefits of physical activity for children:
- Builds confidence and improves social skills;
- Gives children the opportunity to learn new skills;
- Strengthens muscles and bones;
- Helps to develop coordination;
- Enhances concentration and learning;
- Makes children feel good and elevates their mood;
- Inspires positivity;
- Helps to relieve stress and maintain mental and emotional wellbeing;
- Improves sleep and energy levels.
Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Study after study shows the benefits it can have, but we must also be sure to maintain a healthy, balanced diet alongside exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Improves overall health and fitness and helps children maintain a healthy weight to prevent childhood obesity. Children who exercise will be the adult who exercises. Good practices will follow them throughout their lives.