Physical Activity- Keeps Your Child Healthy

Update: 10/17/2012 - View: 15535
Physical activity is important for the health and well-being of people of all ages.

Physical activity can be in the form of exercise, sports, games and even play! Most children are naturally playful and active. Parents should encourage play times as it gets the child moving, skipping and running around.

Here are the health benefits your child will reap by being active:

  • Maintains energy balance and a healthy body weight: An effective level of activity ensures your child’s energy input (food intake) does not exceed his energy output (activity). This prevents excess calories to be stored as fat.
  • Strengthens bones and muscles: Physical activity optimises bone health during the developmental years, keeps bone mineral density healthy, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Improves blood circulation and heart health: Being fit benefits heart health and decreases the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Reduces risk of chronic diseases: Physical activity reduces the risk of various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. It also maintains bone, joint and muscle health, as well as improves mental health.
  • Improves mood and reduces stress: Physical activity improves mood. When we exercise, the brain releases endorphins - a chemical linked to the feeling of happiness and helps keep stress away.
  • Improves self-esteem: Involvement in sports help children gain greater confidence. Various sports and games create the opportunity for children to develop teamwork and make friends.


Getting your child active

Parents should encourage their children to have a sufficient amount of physical activity. Refer to the physical activity pyramid below as a guide.

 
 

  • Be active everyday. Lead by example and create opportunity for your child to indulge in activities that involve bodily movements everyday.
  • One hour daily. Let your child indulge in physical activity for one hour or more daily. The one hour can be split into short periods of exercise or play times.
  • Moderate or vigorous. Your child should do either moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity. (Refer to table for examples of moderate and vigorous activity.)
  • Flexibility, strength & endurance. Have your child participate in activities that improves his flexibility, strength and stamina at least 2 to 3 times a week, e.g. stretching, playing monkey bars.
  • Reduce inactivity. Limit sedentary habits to a maximum of 2 hours or less in a day. Reduce your child’s time for watching TV, playing video games and surfing the internet.