Remember those golden ol days? The days when the parks were filled with kids running and playing around. There were so many games to play. Time was never enough for them. Bright and shiny sun, breezy air and kids jumping and hopping around made it such a cherished time of the day. Then technology happened. Mobiles, tablets started to demand more and more of our time. It not only isolated the human race from each other by encouraging virtual socializing over actual socialising but also took away a vital part in the form of physical activity from today’s young generation.
Children as we all know have boundless energy levels. Exercise is one way in which children release this energy and gain both physiological and psychological benefits. However, the leisure activity landscape has changed dramatically with the emergence of technology with time attributed to physical activity suffering.
Nowadays kids spend an average six to eight hours on Internet. Most parents won’t be surprised by this. Even those who want to limit their kids’ Internet usage know how tough it is to compete with a glowing touchscreen.
Researchers at the University of South Australia recently concluded that children around the world are less aerobically fit than their parents were as kids, taking on average 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids did 30 years ago. Only half of the children in the United States meet the currently recommended standard of minimum 60 minutes of daily vigorous physical activity daily according to the Committee on Physical Activity. This lack of general fitness and strength can lead to increased risk of obesity and pose various health consequences.
Practicing sports ensures a regular routine of physical activity, providing health benefits and optimizing children’s development. Regular exercising helps in strengthening bones and muscles, reduces sleeping problems and provides a sense of overall well-being. Team work, improved self-esteem and social skills are some of the many psychological benefits. It also motivates them to excel academically by teaching them the benefits if goal setting and practice.
Above mentioned benefits are good to hear but how to encourage kids to play sports, you say?
First and foremost, choose the right activity for your kid. They are used to installing and uninstalling games with a tap, can change a dozen videos in a minute if it doesn’t interest them. If the physical activity doesn’t seem like fun to them, they will be bored and wouldn’t be able to focus on it long enough.
Make them try various activities to find out where their interest lies. Some of the examples are:
For preschoolers, throwing and kicking a ball or riding a bike with training wheels helps them develop their motor skills.
For school age kids, you can engage them in biking, hiking, swimming or games like baseball and basketball.
For teenagers, you can go for skateboarding or martial arts classes.
Another important thing to know is the fitness personality of your child. There are mainly 3 types of fitness personality which we will help you in choosing the right activity for your child.
They can be the athlete type who loves being active and has athletic abilities. You can enroll him or her in the local basketball or football team.
The other type is casual athlete who is interested in being active but isn’t a star player and thus risks getting discouraged. He or she can be encouraged to take up activities like jogging or swimming.
The third type is the non athlete with no interest in sports and physical activities whatsoever. The non athlete type needs more encouragement than the others but a positive attitude towards them can help them find a sports or activity they can fall in love with. Cycling, golf or even dancing can be a good form of physical activity for them.
Whatever the type, help them find an activity they love to do. Parents should remember to always encourage their kids. Children look up to their parents for inspiration. Be active yourself and make it a part of your family routine. And soon it will be absolutely normal for your child to maintain an active and healthy life too.