An hour of exercise a day, keeps the illness and disease at bay- New Age Child Health Mantra

  • Dr. Arbinder Singal

    Pediatric Urologist, MBBS (Gold Medalist), M.Ch (AIIMS, Gold Medalist), DNB, MNAMS

  • Posted On April 04, 2017

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While for adults exercise means working out in the gym, running on a treadmill, or lifting weights; for kids exercise means playing games and being physically active. Kids exercise when they have gym class at school, during school breaks, during dance classes, basketball practice, tennis game, cycling to school or even when playing tag team.

Loads of Benefits of Exercise for kids:

  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Less chances of becoming overweight
  • Less risk of diabetes
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower blood cholesterol levels
  • Less chances of heart disease
  • Better sleep
  • Ability to handle physical and emotional challenges
  • Positive and better outlook on life

The Three Pillars of Child Fitness

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Flexibility

A quick look at the kids in the playground and you can see how important each one of these is. Hence, parents and schools should encourage children to do a variety of activities so that all these three pillars remain strong.

Endurance or stamina develops when kids regularly indulge in aerobic activities. During aerobic exercise, both heart and lung capacity are pushed to the max as the heart must pump blood faster to muscles and lungs have to oxygenate the circulating blood faster. Hence, regular aerobic activities and aerobic exercises strengthen both the lung and the heart adding to the stamina.

Aerobic exercise can be fun for both children and adults and include:

  • Team games such as football, soccer, basketball, hockey
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Running and jogging
  • Tennis

Strength improvement in kids can be done with simple body weight exercises like push-ups, crunches, pull-ups, sit ups, squats can help in improving strength and tone of the muscles. Children can also become stronger by doing activities such as monkey bars, climbing, handstands, wrestling etc. Unlike adults, kids do not need to do weight training to improve strength.

Stretching exercises help in improving flexibility which allow muscles and joints to bend and achieve full range of motion. Most of the kids activities and games have an element of stretching in them such as reaching for toys, splits, cartwheels, badminton etc.

Now the most important question – How Much Exercise should a kid do on a day to day basis to stay healthy?

With rising incidence of lifestyle diseases and obesity, there have been guidelines for minimum activity for kids. The guidelines from FitterFly fitness experts, World Health Organisation, Center for disease control and National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) are very clear on this:

  • Infants: Physical activity should foster normal motor development but there are no specific guidelines about number of hours.
  • Toddler: At least 60 minutes of free play and 30 minutes of planned physical activity is ideal
  • Preschooler: 60 minutes of free play and 60 minutes of planned physical activity
  • School age and teenagers: At least 60 minutes of physical activity or sports, can be broken into periods of 15 minutes or more.

We recommend, that infants and young children should not be inactive for no more than 1 hour unless they're sleeping. As the children grow, in the modern era, they adopt gadgets which can decrease their playtime. But we must make sure that school-age children should not be inactive for periods longer than 2 hours.

Take away:

  • Chart and plan a bunch of age-appropriate activities for your kids.
  • Establish some time for regular physical activity.
  • Be a model parent by embracing a healthier lifestyle
  • Make “Being active” Being Cool”.
  • Teach minor things which improve fitness like taking stairs instead of elevator.
  • Keep activities fun by participating in them and you will see that your kids will come back for more.

The FitteFlypunchline:

Body should be in perfect balance. 50% of the health comes from healthy foods and 50% from healthy activities. Hence, ensure that you combine healthy diet with regular physical activity and give your child a fit childhood.

About Fitterfly:

Fitterfly is a wellness company run by doctors, nutritionists and wellness experts with an aim to empower people with knowledge and tools for good health. Our qualified Nutritionists at Fitterfly provide detailed customized guidance according to your child’s age, health condition, cuisine and personal preferences. To know more download and use ‘Fitterfly’ app from play store or app store or write to us at nutrition@fitterfly.com or just call us at +917045065225

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Disclaimer: All information here, including text, images, tables, videos and any other content is for your knowledge only and we do not guarantee any specific result by following these recommendations as it may vary from person to person. The information is not a substitute for qualified medical advice from a doctor or other medical health expert.