Nowadays, Children often spend their free time glued to a screen of some sort. Living in a very vibrant, yet chaotic city, we are reluctant to let our kids play outdoors, not to mention the blazing sun and humidity. And as personal trainers, we are worried. So is the American Heart Association, who has found that children's fitness levels are declining. 30 years ago, a child could run a mile a whole 90 seconds quicker than our children today.
It’s not just fitness levels we have to be concerned about. Fast food outlets on every corner play a large part in discouraging our children from eating real food. So what do we get? A growing rate of Childhood Obesity. Unless we act now, kids are going to spend their childhood eating junk food, playing Angry Birds and watching YouTube Videos instead of being active in the playground or doing a sport activity. Being active enough as children can help to prevent degenerative diseases in adulthood, because it is likely that inactive children become inactive adults.
Dr. Grant Tomkinson of the University of South Australia's School of Health and Science states that, "about 30% to 60% of decline in endurance running performance can be explained [due to the] increase of fat mass". This problem is growing not only in Western countries but Asian countries too.
What can we do to encourage our children to be active and healthy? As adults, we partake in activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. For example, we go for runs, go to the gym or for a quick dip in the pool. We do this because we become more aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. We also are open to more structured exercise programs and rightly or wrongly, see it as a means to an end.
For children, fitness is all about playing. Exercise is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. Therefore, as adults, our challenge is to attract kids to stay active by making it fun.
We believe that exercise should enhance the following:
- Muscular endurance, strength and power
- Flexibility, agility, coordination and reactivity
- Bone density and healthy joints
- Social skills, teamwork and discipline
- Psychological wellbeing
- Resistance to (sports) injuries
And finally, exercise for kids should be FUN, (appropriately designed and supervised).
In that case, most children are willing to be physically active.
Doing recreational sports and activities with your children is a great way of keeping them active, however the importance of playing and developing social skills with other children is an integral part of a child’s development. This serves to enhance an understanding of themselves and their environment. Relying on Mum and Dad to provide these activities cannot always be the case.
We think that team sports are a great way for children to exercise in an environment that stimulates their confidence and development. Moreover, they promote interaction with others in the same age group whilst staying active, having fun and building social skills. So, are your kids moving enough?
'Get your kids moving with our LittleMovers Program'
Contact 02 652 0539 for more info