Physical activity is associated with several health benefits. It’s particularly important to help children develop and grow into healthy adults.
In today’s digital era, it can be difficult to get your child to put down the devices and do something active. But with a little effort, you can teach them healthy habits and find activities they can love for a lifetime.
Why is it important for kids to be active?
Increased physical activity increases life expectancy and, lowers the risk of many diseases and health problems.
Active children are more likely to have:
- A healthy weight
- Stronger, healthier bones and muscles
- Better heart and brain health
- Improved brain function, such as memory, attention and problem-solving
- Better school attendance and academic performance, particularly in math, reading and writing
- Reduced long-term risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes etc.
- Less stress and fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Improved mental health and psychological well-being, e.g., confidence and self-esteem
How can you encourage your child to be active?
Children are naturally active. As they grow up, they tend to become less active. You can help them to find the activities they can enjoy instead of becoming inactive.
Here are some tips that may help:
- Be a role model for an active lifestyle. Start being more physically active and find ways to be active together as a family.
- Decrease or limit sedentary screen time, e.g., watching television, playing video games and using a digital device. Avoid using the TV or a device to entertain children instead of playing with them.
- Provide children with opportunities to be active. Give them active toys and games, such as jump ropes, balls and sports equipment.
- Support them in sports participation, dance and other active recreation like swimming, biking and running.
- When safe, let them walk or use their cycle instead of driving them in the car/bike.
- Praise, rewards and encourage children to stay active.
- How Can I Help My Child Be More Physically Active?[Internet]. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical- activity-in-children. Accessed on Mar 5, 2020.