Is it true that children who are physically active are more likely to be academically-inclined and more alert in school? According to a study done by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), children who participate in vigorous physical activity, such as sports, perform better in school. Why then as our children grow up, the time spent and the emphasis on physical education in school is reduced. Furthermore, children usually spend their free time watching television, surfing the Internet or playing video games which are all categorize as sedentary pursuits (unless you are playing Wii).
Here is a list of benefits that can be gained from getting your child active:
- Develop stronger muscle and bone density
- Less likely to be overweight as exercise helps control body fat
- Sleep better
- Able to perform mentally and physically demanding tasks
- Increase proprioception (spatial awareness)
- Develop gross motor skills
The list above is extensive as there are many other benefits. So how do you encourage your child to live an “Active Lifestyle”?
Be a role-model to them. Take time out of your busy schedule to “play” with them. It can be any sport your child love, as long as they are moving and getting a sweat out of it. It is also equally important to lead by example; meaning getting rid of any bad habits that you may have such as smoking or bad eating.
Include the whole family. “The family that play together, stay together”; I should include “live longer” also. Take a walk with your family or go for a bike ride together.
Make it fun. Lastly, make it fun for them as they will be more motivated to stick to it. Participating in an Activity day-camp or a Youth Sports camp may be a good idea if your child loves socializing and playing with other children.