Children are relying more and more on electronic devices and online media for entertainment and leisure. And though technological advancements can be a positive factor in their lives, there are also negative ones, and one of them include children becoming less physically active.
As parents and guardians, it’s our responsibility to encourage children to get outside and get more physically active. Although it can be challenging at times, let’s identify the best exercise tips for children to help them be more active!
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According to a study by the World Health Organisation, the Middle East are in the top 3 highest obesity rates in the world for children. With this being a very concerning result, the UAE government is combatting the issue with after school programs to incentivize children to get more active as well as eating better diets.
With technology being one of the main causal factors for child obesity, its time, we stop pointing the finger to technology and start realizing its poor habits and lifestyle choices that are causing the problem.
Ways You Can Get Your Child to Become More Physically Active
- Enrol them in a sports team – This is one of the best ways to get your child to commit to physical activity. There are many kids sports teams and facilities in the UAE and will encourage your child to stay disciplined in engaging with others, working in a team and having fun.
- Test out the different options – There are so many different things your child can experience when trying to get more physically active. They can play sports, go for walks, or have a play at the park. Try all the different options until your child can find the ones that are just perfect for them.
- Set a good example – Your child will struggle to become more active if their parent or guardian doesn’t do the same. By setting them a good example, they will see that others enjoy physical activity and will become more comfortable with getting more active.
- Take away the gadgets – Removing electronic devices and handheld gadgets will encourage them to find other forms of entertainment, such as physical activity. It also reduces their temptations to use these devices.
- Make things fun – Physical activity doesn’t always have to be a sport. Taking them to the park, walking the dog or just working in the garden can be enjoyable and keeps things interesting for them.
- Set a time and routine – Set up a routine or schedule so your child knows what to expect and can anticipate it. This will help you identify what types of physical activity they enjoy most and can get them feeling excited about it.
- Buy them active toys – Instead of buying regular toys or electronic devices, buy them active or sports toys such as balls, water guns or anything that will encourage them to get outside and get moving.
Benefits for Children to Become More Physically Active
1. Better Physical Health
The most obvious point, physical activity will make your child physically stronger and will promote better overall growth. More physical activity will encourage them to use their bones, joints and muscles and making them stronger and more durable. Physically active children also have an easier time managing their weight.
2. Encourages Them to Be Social
Not that you can’t socialize online, socializing through physical engagement will always be a different and better experience. Being physically active can mean going outside and engaging with others. This will help children to build social skills as well as the confidence they can use as they get older.
3. Boost Immune System
Being outdoors tests and challenges their immune system as the external environment will condition it to make it stronger.
4. Better Mental Health
Your child is cooped up within the confinements of school and home for many hours of their day. Being indoors and sedentary for long periods can be mentally draining. Going outside or doing a sort of physical activity may help them release the built-up tension, energy, and stress they have built up during the day.
5. Better Habits
If your child enjoys the physical play, they will do it more often even without encouragement. This is known as a good habit. Alternatively, if your child finds games as an escape and turns it into a habit, this will work in the opposite effect.
Keep in Mind
Every child is different, and so each should be approached differently. Some of the above tips may work for some and not for others. This is why its best to understand your child first and see what they enjoy most.
It may also be a good idea to have your child get a general health check with the doctor to see if existing health complications may be the reason for poor health or a desire to avoid physical activity. Getting a doctor to assess your child’s health may be an excellent first step.
Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.
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