Newsletter May – June 2018: Importance of Physical Activity for Healthy Development
Head, hand, heart speaks to First 5 San Diego’s philosophy of the need to care for the whole child during the first years of life. By heart, we are encouraging parents and caregivers to show an abundance of love to children. Heart also reflects the importance of physical activity in a young child’s life as they develop the habits that they will take with them into adulthood.
Being physically active is one of the key building blocks for a healthy life. Benefits include:
- Healthy growth and development including being a healthy weight and reducing the risk of disease like diabetes or cancer later in life
- Building strong hearts, muscles and bones
- Learning fundamental movement skills
- Improved movement, balance, coordination and reaction time
- Increased mental wellbeing
- Improved social skills, self-esteem and confidence
Physical activity for young children doesn’t mean going to the gym, an activity that is not suitable for young children. Physical activity for young children is active play and opportunities to move about and explore their environment.
What is physical activity in young children?
The physical activity opportunities provided to children will vary depending on their age and development.
Allow infants to move around through supervised floor-based play regularly throughout the day. Tummy time is a great way to help infants strengthen the muscles needed for later crawling and walking, and can provide children with opportunities for reaching and grasping.
When infants begin crawling, the focus continues to be on floor-based play and on creating opportunities and a safe environment where they can move about freely.
Children ages one through five should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.
Once children are walking independently, most of their physical activity will still come from active play and organized sport-type activities designed for young children (t-ball, soccer, etc.).
Every time your child throws a ball, swims a lap, climbs a flight of stairs, walks to the store or carries packages, his health and fitness levels are improving. With physical fitness, your child will feel and look better and stay healthier.
Click here [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD78c1-kSPU] to view First 5 San Diego’s “Heart Working Muscle” video.