Physical activity is considered a pillar of health, essential to chronic disease prevention and well-being during any stage of life. Physical activity can support your child’s growth and development, including their bones, muscles, joints, heart, and lungs. Helping children stay active may contribute to good health during childhood and support the development of lifelong healthy habits. Research has shown that physical activity interventions can reduce the risk of obesity in children aged six to 18 years.
However, many parents are dismayed to find their son or daughter is not interested in sports. If it is so important to get kids interested in sports, why do so many of our children lose interest in them? There are many answers, but part of the problem has to do with how we frame sports to our kids. Some kids feel pressured to pursue a sport that is not necessarily their calling. Others feel pressured to focus on one sport only, which can be limiting both physically and socially if they wish to participate in several different ones. Making sure your child naturally incorporates exercise into their life is a mixture of several things: leading by example, doing sports together, keeping it fun and encouraging instead of forcing sports. (Spooky Nook Sports)
What are the benefits of physical activity for kids?
- Healthy Lifestyle – Helps prevent weight gain and boosts their immune system.
- Improve Focus and Productivity – Boost their academic performance.
- More Energy – Exercise improves circulation, giving children a much-needed boost of energy, concentration, and focus. It also helps them balance their energy so that they do not become as tired throughout the day.
- Stronger Muscle – Playing jump-rope, crossing the monkey bars, playing tag, or doing push-ups using their muscles, which means kids are making them stronger. Increased muscle strength also provides protection against injury.
- Stronger Lungs – Exercise means kids are taking in more oxygen and expelling more carbon dioxide, increasing lung capacity. Increased oxygen also helps their heart and brain.
- Reduces blood sugar levels. Exercise prevents sugar from accumulating in the blood by triggering muscles to take up more glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy.
- Improve quality of kids sleep. Kids sleep at more consistent hours, more soundly, and are more energized when awake.
- Improved mental well-being. Kids may experience reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
How much physical activity do children need?
Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each day, including daily aerobic and activities that strengthen bones (like running or jumping) – 3 days each week at minimum. Whether it is a bike ride, a soccer game, or a run around the block, make sure your kids get out and get active. Active kids become active and healthy adults.
How to find a perfect sport for your child
Choosing a sport for your child is an important decision for any parent. Some children are more inclined to team sports while others will prefer individual sports. Some body types are better suited to some sports than others. And some children will be more interested in low impact sports while others will be anxious for a more physically demanding sports opportunity. Do not try to project your own interests or your past on your child. Even if you were a star pitcher in your youth, that sport may not be for your child. Participating in sports is more important than which sport they choose.
So how can a parent help his child pick a sport that will best serve the child’s needs and interests?
- Expose the Child to a Variety of Sports
- Watch for Signs of Enthusiasm
- Find out Preference: Team or Individual Sport
- Try Multiple Sports
What you need as a parent
- Time to explore sports
- Time to practice and teach skills
- Time to support your child in his or her choice
- Be a good example, remember that kids are sponges who absorb their understanding of life by watching their parents. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Who hasn’t heard the “do as I say, not as I do” line before?
List of exercises for kids
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises include:
- Brisk walking
- Riding a bicycle
- Sports that involve catching and throwing (baseball, softball)
Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises include:
- Games that involve running (flag football, tag)
- Jumping rope
- Martial arts
- Riding a bicycle, including on hills
Example of muscle-strengthening exercises include:
- Active types of yoga
- Certain games (tug of war)
- Climbing (rope, tree, playground equipment)
- Resistance exercises (using body weight, resistance bands, weight machines)
How does Gymnastics help kids develop?
Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, power, agility, coordination, and balance. There are multiple benefits of gymnastics classes for young children, even if you are not dreaming of the Olympics!
- Gymnastics stimulates cognitive growth – When toddlers are exposed to activities in gymnastics, the whole brain is exercised, encouraging rounded thinking.
- Gymnastics develops strong and healthy bones – Gymnastics enables safe weight bearing, especially in classes suitable for toddlers and children.
- An understanding of discipline – When a parent and child commits to attending training as part of their schedule, it instils an understanding of schedule and commitment.
- Self-esteem from an early age
- Increases social awareness and benefits – Encouraging social interactions which are well monitored from the onset is crucial to social behaviour and inclusivity as children get older.
- Fun Factor – Above all else, participating in gymnastics is fun. Children will love learning how to tumble, flip, swing and make their bodies perform stunts they never thought possible! In gymnastics, there is always another step to learn, and it is therefore possible to learn something new in every class. It encourages children to be bold and to explore the capabilities of their bodies.
What are the 6 types of gymnastics?
Women compete on four events: Vault, Uneven bars, Balance beam and Floor exercise, while men compete on six events: Floor exercise, Pommel horse, Still rings, Vault, Parallel bars, and High bar.
What are different types of gymnastics?
- Artistic Gymnastics
- Rhythmic Gymnastics (RG)
- Trampoline Gymnastics (TRG)
- Power Tumbling
- Acrobatic Gymnastics
What is a good age to start gymnastics?
You can find gymnastics classes for children as young as 2 years of age, but many coaches say that it is better to wait until your child is 5 or 6 before enrolling in a serious gymnastics program.
Interesting Facts about Gymnastics
- The term Gymnastics, derived from a Greek word meaning “to exercise naked,” applied in ancient Greece to all exercises practiced in the gymnasium, the place where male athletes did indeed exercise unclothed.
- The Ancient Greeks prepared their young men for war by doing gymnastics.
- Women were not permitted to compete in gymnastic events until the 1920s.
- Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson was the winning contestant on <Dancing with the Stars> in 2009.