Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Combining physical activity with healthy eating can help prevent a range of chronic diseases including heart disease later in life. As parents we want to always do the best we can for our children and be a good role model by being an active parent. Children tend to mimic their parents behavior so; active parent = active child! Children who enjoy sports from an early age tend to stay active throughout their lives.
Preschoolers should have at least 60 minutes of structured physical activity and 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity (free play) each day. It is important for us to understand what our child can handle when it comes to being active. The most important part of being active should be that it’s lots of fun for everyone. The ultimate goal should be to help improve the level of fitness of children, help them master and enhance their fundamental motor skills and most importantly to give children a healthy exercise and nutrition foundation on which to build their future habits.
Being an active family can be great fun and going for walks, running, taking out the scooters or bikes or using playground equipment can be fun for the entire family. Sometimes vary the walks by heading for the woods on an adventure, collecting leaves and seeing lots of nature. Now that summer is on the way, perhaps think about taking a walk in the evening or a trip to the park. Forget about the housework, it will eventually get done!
Bring a ball to the park or out to the garden and help your child master the skills of throwing, catching, kicking and practice jumping over things. This will all help your child to be confident and will increase their chances of enjoying their sport activities. Incorporating these activities can become habitual and soon your child will look forward to this time spent together and the fun had by all. Sometimes our weather does not always allow outdoor activity but children can be active when they're stuck indoors too. Set up mini obstacle courses using chairs, cushions and boxes for them to go over, under and through.
Children need to be fit for the same reason as adults do- to improve their health and ensure that their bodies can achieve what they need to. Regular activity helps children grow, build strong muscles and bones, develop important motor skills and build self esteem.
Bad habits form naturally, good habits need to be taught, practiced and encouraged each day!