Importance Of Physical Fitness And Fitness Activities For Kids
Importance Of Physical Fitness And Fitness Activities For Kids.
“A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world.”–John Locke.
This maxim shows the close link between physical fitness and mental equilibrium and the ability to enjoy a fulfilled life. Everyone wants good health, but what do we do to achieve that? At Sherwood High, we believe it is essential to encourage children to be physically fit and health conscious, and do some sort of physical activity in order to stay healthy.
As we give such profound importance to our children being fit, and to encourage each and everyone of you to take part in any physical fitness activities, we had also organised a Sherwood High Run on the 5th September as part of the Fit India Campaign. We also have this blog to understand The Importance of Physical fitness & Fitness Activities for Kids.
The Pandemic is a testing time for us all, as it has literally locked us inside. Gyms, sport facilities and stadiums, public pools, dance studios, playgrounds, play areas, parks, are all closed while even the streets are not deemed safe. We are barely allowed to come out and walk on the streets now after many months of confinement. So how do we overcome this situation to become physically fit? There are many questions ringing in our mind about how we can still continue to take our health and wellbeing seriously, even from the safety of our homes. The solution, however, is quite simple! It is to exercise wherever and whenever we can.
Some may feel that a life of leisure, stagnantly watching or surfing television or internet is the happiest or easiest thing to do. The irony, however, is that it is the most dangerous thing you could do. You would become the victim of a sedentary lifestyle. This lifestyle increases all causes of early mortality, doubling the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorder, depression and anxiety. So the right thing to do when given the choice of sleeping an extra hour or going out for a walk, choose to walk. When given the choice of using an elevator or climbing the staircase, choose to climb. Keeping yourself active and agile is in these simple lifestyle changes, which can prove to be immensely helpful later on in life.
Fitness is as important for kids, it is their time of exploration, gaining resistance, strength and a time when most of their physical and mental development takes place. In the pre-pandemic, children had plenty of choices and options, to do one or the other form of fitness activity, in terms of play. But nowadays, as they are confined indoors, they do not go to school, there are no physical education classes, no swimming classes, no sports activities or play.
Though we put in our best efforts to bring as much to the virtual classrooms, the impact of its goodness becomes limited and not quite as effective. This may lead to disappointment and disinterest for kids, as it’s extremely easy for children to lose interest in physical activities on a virtual platform. The role of parents here is quintessential, in keeping their fun- filled days alive. So you can actively play with them and do some simple exercises that can be done easily at home or on the terrace.
According to much popular research, there are four types of physical exercises, and it has been proven time and again that it’s important to get all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Each one of them has a distinct set of benefits. When we do a variety of exercises, they help us to reduce boredom and can keep Kids involved as it is imperative that children should exercise 60 minutes a day.
Strength exercises help children develop muscle strength. Activities like floor push up, wall push up, stairway–push up, scrunches, planks, punching arms, basketball hooks and towel tug of war are some fun examples of strength exercises.
Push-ups are a great way to strengthen your body. One can practice floor or wall push up to strengthen specific muscles and Staircase Push up is a jolly one, you can encourage your child to do staircase push up instead of using an elevator, as activities like these build leg muscle strength. punching arm, basketball hook and tug of war strengthen the hand muscle. Assist your children to try these simple and easy exercises to develop their physical strength.
There are some of the easiest and fun exercises for children to enjoy. The activities under endurance are running, jumping, skipping, bear crawls, squats.
Running is the best endurance exercise, and games like treasure hunt, tag and freeze encourage running by means of catch and chase where kids run around chasing each other. Jumping is also important for developing the balance and coordination while strengthening their leg and core muscles.
Activities like ‘frog jump’ and ‘kangaroo with the child’ make jumping an interesting activity. Skipping is a co-ordinated skill that builds upon the coordination between running, timing, rope balance and jumping. Conducting a skipping race on the terrace or in the backyard can be a fun way to help kids enjoy skipping.
Did you all know that there is an exercise called the Superman? It is one of the most exciting exercises and it strengthens the back and abdominal muscles, targets glutes, hamstrings, and also complements other core exercises. So all you have to do is to simply ask your child to pretend-play and fly like superman.
Balance is an essential aspect of a child’s growth and development in order to help children learn to balance their bodies in response to level and direction changes. While adults understand that balancing means to have an even distribution of weight on each side, children probably understand it as the opposite of falling over.
Activities like balance the foot, standing like a tree, Kneel down, half kneel and balloon tennis help children learn better balance and learning balance will further help them have better control over their bodies
Balancing the foot on the ground and lifting the leg up or placing a leg on a ball or a beanbag are simple examples of activities which help increase body balance and coordination. Kneeling down or kneeling half is a challenge to balance the body without falling down, while balloon tennis is an interesting game to tap the ball in the air and balance the ball without falling down. These are a few simple exercise activities to teach children better balance while also helping them build their core strength.
Exercising is not only losing weight and increasing core strength and muscle strength but also increasing body flexibility. Flexibility is important as it reduces the risk of muscle and joint injuries along with making children agile.
For developing flexibility there are many poses and stretches like child pose, bow pose, cobra pose, seated toe touch, overhead arm stretch, cross body stretch and butterfly stretch. child pose, bow pose, cobra pose are simply just fun ways of recreating the pose and don’t children love posing? Well well, we better not debate on that sensitive topic here!
However Seated toe touch is the most popular exercise for kids, though they may struggle to touch the toe, initially, once they are able to do it they touch it easily as they practice everyday eventually. Cross body stretch and butterfly stretch are useful for hands and legs as they help improve hand and leg flexibility.
Knowing about or learning these exercises is easy, but practicing them at the right time and with right posture is the key for a kid’s safety and healthy development. Doing a warm up of 10-15 minutes before the exercises is a must, and to begin early is better, as early morning is the best time to exercise.
Stretching should be done before any sports and breathing should be normal and it is vital not to hold breath while doing any exercise when not mentioned specifically. Overstretching is not advisable, it may cause pain and it’s also important to consult your doctor, if there is any pre-existing medical condition before you start.
Though these above said exercises are perfect for kids and the entire family can do it together, while there are also many other wide varieties of exercises, you can teach your children along with these.
Remember that developing a good physical foundation from a young age is important and physical activity is the gateway to optimising a child’s physical, mental, and emotional development.