The Fun of Fitness!

Just like eating and sleeping, sports and physical activity should be part of your child's daily routine. By adding physical activity to their everyday life, you’re giving your child a more holistic upbringing.

The best part about adding physical activity is that it can start right away — even before they crawl, your child can engage in floor-based play.

For kids below seven years old, up to three hours of active play in a safe environment is perfect. It doesn’t have to be all at once, though.

Older children (from 7 to 18 years old), should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity in a day. Try to get them to do vigorous-intensity physical activity (including those that strengthen muscles and bones) at least three times per week.

What’s just as important as exercise is limiting your children’s screen time — TV, devices, phones. Try to keep your children to less than two hours per day. Sitting still for too long isn’t good for children. Get them to break up their screen time with 15 minutes of physical activity every hour.

Related: Outdoor Activities That Make Fitness Fun in Singapore

Benefits of Staying Active

When your children have an active lifestyle there are many benefits:

  • Improved cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular fitness.

  • Favourable body composition.

  • Improved bone health.

  • Improved cardiorespiratory and metabolic health markers.

  • Reduced symptoms of stress and anxiety.

  • Improved self-esteem.

Some studies also indicate that engaging in outdoor activities can help prevent myopia.

Related: Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

Put Some Activity Into Your Child’s Daily Life

Being physically active doesn’t have to involve going to a gym or playing sports.

Here are some quick and easy exercises that you can incorporate into your child’s daily life:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.

  • Take a walk around the neighbourhood together after dinner.

  • Do light exercises like sit-ups and walking on-the-spot while watching TV.

  • Involve your child in household chores like mopping, sweeping, or washing the car.

  • Encourage your child to walk to school, or get off one bus-stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.

Related: Let’s All Move It, Move It!

Introducing Your Child to Sport

Try not to make fitness feel like a chore.

Here are some tips to make physical activity fun:

  • Let Your Children Choose Activities They Like

    Finding out what interests them always works better than forcing them to do a sport. Encourage your child to take part in out-of-school physical activity lessons (e.g. martial arts or dance).

  • Be a Role Model

    Take part in physical activity enthusiastically, and your child will probably follow.

  • Encourage Participation in Team Sports

    These help your child develop both physical and technical prowess as well as social and communicative skills.

  • Include Sports in Your Family’s Weekend Activities

    The perfect family weekend balances physical and leisure activities. Find something kids of all ages can enjoy together, like ball games, frisbee or cycling.

  • Select ‘Toys’ or Gifts that Promote Physical Activity

    Things like a ball, jump rope or pair of in-line skates can get your child moving while bringing many hours of fun.

Related: Benefits of Playing Team Sports

Exercise Safely

Sometimes, when children get excited while playing, they may forget about their safety. Teach them to observe some safety tips and ensure adult supervision when necessary.

To avoid injuries and discomfort while exercising, here are some simple tips to follow:

  • Put on suitable clothes and shoes when exercising.

  • Exercise before meals or at least 2 hours after a heavy meal.

  • Warm-up and cool down before and after exercise.

  • Avoid exercising when unwell or soon after recovery from an illness.

  • Stop immediately if you feel giddy, breathless or experience pain.

  • Avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest time of the day.

  • Wear appropriate protective gear such as helmet, knee and elbow guards for activities such as cycling or roller-blading.

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

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