Think back to the last time you had to convince your children to spend some time playing outside. Does it happen often? You are not in a unique situation. Parents all around the country and world are encountering a dilemma – their children are not getting as much exercise as they should.
There are many reasons behind this large scale issue. The most prominent is technology. Lifestyles are more sedentary, with people spending more time in front of one screen or another accessing the internet. Children have also been swept up in the wave. For many, their idea of high levels of activity constitutes a riveting video game. While it is not entirely unacceptable for children to enjoy playing video games, the amount of time they spend being only as active as their fingers moving on a controller makes it less ideal.
Exercise forms a vital part of children’s development. It is an essential component in the progress of their growth as it has many underlying benefits. Here are some of the reasons why it is so important to encourage your children to exercise:
It boosts their health
The more exercise a child gets, the less likely they are to develop adverse health conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
In addition to general physical health, children’s mental health is also improved when they get more exercise. Studies have shown that young ones who accumulate extended periods of screen time tend to be more prone to depression and anxiety.
It raises self-esteem
Taking part in physical activities challenges children to keep pushing the limits of their abilities. They find new things to try and build upon skills they already have. When they accomplish a goal or get better at something, their self-confidence also increases. It instils in them a can-do attitude that can serve them long into adulthood.
They get more Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for better immunity and stronger bones. The primary source of this vitamin is exposure to the sun. Hence, if you can get your children to spend more time outdoors, they can get more exercise while fostering better bone health at the same time. The only caveat is that they should be protected from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen.
They perform better in school
An active body encourages an active mind. Children who get adequate amounts of exercise do better in their classwork.
It enhances their social skills
Typically, exercise for children is more akin to playtime. This distinction connotes that there is some social interaction between playmates. Such an environment encourages them to learn how to interact with others. Critically, they assimilate valuable lessons like compromise, some conflict resolution, and the importance of inclusion.
How to get your children moving
The secret behind motivating children is presenting them with options they are most likely to enjoy. If you can make exercise fun and interactive, they will be more open to participating and maintaining their involvement. Remember that exercise is more than just participating in team sports: children are just as individual as adults. Your child might be more captivated by a few turns on their bicycle than they are by joining a football team.
Finally, set a good example by endeavouring to lead a more active lifestyle. Children learn a lot from quiet observation. If they see that their carers enjoy being up and about, they may be more willing to follow suit.
Alternatively, you can start small. Suppose it is not as easy to get your children to spend time outside. You can find videos online that encourage them to participate in some form of physical activity while remaining indoors. Another option is to purchase video games that require active physical participation. Employ positive reinforcement to drive them toward getting more exercise each day. Your child will grow up healthy and strong, and they will also be able to maintain a healthier lifestyle when they move out on their own.
There are many resources available to help you get your child moving. You can look into enrolling them in your local youth club. That way, they have a wide range of activities to choose from, allowing them to find something they like.