Most children have no problem finding creative ways to get their energy out. It might be jumping on the couch, tearing through the house, or wrestling with a sibling.
As children get a little bit older, they may turn to technology, games, or reading for entertainment instead of physical activity. But just because children have other interests doesn’t mean their need for physical activity goes down.
Physical activity is vital at every stage of childhood development. Here are just a few reasons why.
The Science Behind Physical Activity and Health
Everyone knows that physical activity is directly related to health. However, children need more physical activity than adults. Children are always growing and constantly learning about their body’s capabilities and limitations and integrating motor and neurological reflexes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, physical activity can reduce the risk of:
- Heart disease.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure.
Physical exercise also improves bone density and muscular strength.
How Much Exercise Does My Child Need?
This depends on the age of your child. Babies need about 30 minutes of tummy time per day. Children aged one to five years need about three hours of vigorous activity, and children older than five years need about 60 minutes.
Physical Activity Helps Coordination
Children are always learning new physical skills, integrating motor and neurological reflexes, and challenging their bodies. Physical activity is necessary to improve coordination, balance, reflexes, and motor skills.
Physical Activity Improves Cognition
Children who engage in regular physical activity have superior cognitive abilities and academic performance compared with peers who aren’t physically active. This is because physical activity brings more blood and oxygen to the brain and aids in memory, problem-solving, and attention.
Physical Activity Evens Out Emotions
Physical activity provides endorphins and reduces stress. When children have a regular, constructive outlet to release extra energy, they are more even-tempered, have fewer tantrums, and have a calmer disposition.
Children prone to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or poor body image, can also benefit from physical activity.
Physical Activity Builds Relationships
Playing team games builds relationships and camaraderie. It helps children learn how to lose–and win–graciously. Playing with a parent or guardian is a very bonding experience.
How Can I Include Physical Activity in My Child’s Day?
Hopefully, you are ready to include physical activity as a part of your daily routine. Here are some tips to get started:
- Work your way up to your child’s age-appropriate level of physical activity, but start small. Try just a few minutes a day of physical activity.
- Choose something your child enjoys or is relatively easy or fun. Sign your child up for a sport. Make a “Park Passport” and try every park in your local area and give them a stamp after they’ve played for an hour.
- Join your kids! Children are more likely to play for longer if you play with them–plus, you get the added bonus of connection and bonding with your child
- Outside play is best, but utilize technology if the weather doesn’t allow for outside play. YouTube has many channels with fitness programs designed for kids and performed by kids, or choose a dance or interactive video game.
- Make an obstacle course, play “The Floor is Lava,” or re-enact a favorite movie or video game
Physical Activity at Crestwood Preschool Academy
At Crestwood Preschool Academy, we place a high value on physical activity. Our children have access to an outdoor playground, and children get many opportunities to play outside. When inside, children have the freedom to roam, run, and play in ways that improve coordination, balance, and reflexes.
It can be hard to include your child’s physical activity during a busy day. Thankfully, you can rest assured that your child receives age-appropriate and fun physical activities at Crestwood Preschool Academy.
Crestwood Preschool Academy is proud to offer an outstanding educational and fun curriculum that prepares your child for kindergarten per state academic standards.
Contact Crestwood Preschool Academy today if you’re looking to give your child a head start in school!