Given Covid-19, children are spending more time on their phones and tablets and less time playing outdoors, or in any physical activity. The resulting problem of childhood obesity is a huge concern in the UK, throughout Europe and the US.
Given what’s happening with Covid, it has never been more important than it is now for us to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle in children, to try and reduce the amount of inactivity.
The UK chief medical officer’s guidelines recommend that children between 5-18 years old should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. This includes moderate-vigorous physical activity, such as cycling, swimming or taking part in an organised sport.
Primary schools are the best place to teach them how to adopt and maintain a healthy active lifestyle. 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. But it is questionable how many really manage this.
As children spend such a significant part of their week in school, it is important schools and teachers play an active role in promoting a healthy lifestyle and give pupils lots of opportunities to be physically active in school.
This activity needs to be varied to ensure children don’t lose interest, it is important schools offer different activities and sports at different levels, to appeal to everyone.
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.
Some of the main benefits of physical activity for children are:
- Builds confidence and improves social skills;
- Strengthens muscles and bones;
- Helps to develop coordination;
- Enhances concentration and learning;
- Makes children feel good and elevates their mood;
- Inspires positivity and encourages tolerance;
- Helps to relieve stress and maintain mental and emotional wellbeing;
- Improves sleep and energy level.
It also reduces the risk of morbidity and mortality from chronic non-communicable diseases and improves overall health and fitness and helps children maintain a healthy weight to prevent childhood obesity.
It has been well documented about the importance of exercise for children and adults, even more so now we’re in Covid-19. Whilst children aren’t in school and it’s difficult to go out, there are exercises they can do at home.
Rebounding is a good exercise, and skipping, jumping and step; anything and everything that works the heart. Children also have their age, which is a great help.