Regular physical activity increases the chances of living a longer, healthier life; it also reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, a great time to focus on the benefits of being active for those ages 0-5. You can find activities that work for both you and your young children. Regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health, and people of all ages and body types can be physically active.
For infants, arm and leg movements, scooting, and crawling are great physical activities to improve coordination and muscle development. At this age, the physical activity may seem small, but it is very significant. Once a child begins walking, encouraging plenty of walking is very important as their muscles, joints and ligaments continue to develop.
For children between 2-5 years old, physical activity is most often in the form of playing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Provide opportunities for young children to be physically active through age appropriate activities such as a game of tag, taking a nature walk, riding bikes, hopscotch, or playing on playground equipment. All of these will help your child be more physically active while having fun.
Finding age appropriate sports for young children is a great way to not only get them active now but to establish a healthy and active lifestyle later in life. Some sports to look into for your little ones include soccer, gymnastics, and swimming, among others.
It’s important to engage in physical activity on a regular basis. To get started, make small changes, such as taking a family walk together after dinner or going for a bike ride on a regular basis. Remember to play with your child on the playground to model good behavior for them to copy. Together, we can rise to the challenge and get more active during the month of May!