Apart from school restrictions due to COVID-19, sports and outdoor activities have become minimal to all children in recent days. The reduced physical activity due to screen-based activities is leading to a sedentary lifestyle in children. Unfortunately, this impact is falling on the child well-being.
Regular physical activity supports psychological, social health and emotional well‐being in every individual. Altogether the physical activity promotion is an indicative target for every stage of a child’s development.
Subsequently keeping children fit includes health status, nutrition, preventive health care, physical activity, safety and security. Parents can provide support and guidance about how to start and how much activity a child needs each day. Keeping an activity log can help them chart their progress, while rewards for each small step achieved can help to keep them motivated.
What is Physical activity?
Physical activity can be defined as any movement of the body that requires energy expenditure. So, in children, the PA can be way fun along with free play and unstructured home-based chores.
PA at home through regular games and play:
Firstly, create an exercise schedule that includes simple warm-ups, jumping jacks, running, cycling and body weight exercises (planks, push-ups and squats). “Don’t start from heavy activities; go from the beginning warming up ease”.
Secondly making the activity fun – Always choose in the direction of the child's interest. They can also go for fun metered approach while exercising to know their performance.
Family participation is the key - Studies have shown that family routines contribute positively to social and emotional advancement in children (Ryan 2019).
Let your children be involved in the basic house chores that make them move. Give them simple tasks to help!
PA in school setting – in phase of COVID-19 lockdown to unlock
Prolonged school closures due to the COVID pandemic have raised many concerns on child’s physical performance and well-being. Studies have mentioned about the “PE dumping” (physical education) in their school curriculum and its negative consequences. So, it is way important that schools to start promoting access to PA in varied home environments through virtual physical education.
With recent school re-openings, the issues are more complicated as an activity must be integrated with the need for social distancing. Optimally, a PE curriculum with outdoor activities and without shareable equipment would provide opportunities for PE and exercise. Physical activity needs to be highly prioritized in school or at home as a healthy child is known to be a better learner with minimizing the sedentary lifestyle.
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A physically active child is a healthy child