Posted on May 11 2018
It's undeniable that staying physically active can have a range of benefits across your lifetime. Physical activity can help prevent disease, improve your quality of life, live longer, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and so much more. Adults who have experienced these benefits are eager to pass them along to their children, but they may wonder how to best accomplish this. Here are the three best fitness activities you can introduce to your kids to set them on the path to a lifetime of healthy living.
Swimming is an activity that even the youngest of children can benefit from. Not only is swimming a fun exercise, it is an important safety skill. After all, for children between the ages of 1 and 14, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death. SwimJim explains that it is especially important for children to learn swimming while they are young because "most children do not ‘automatically’ or intuitively know aquatic skills, as swimming has different familial, cultural, and social contexts.” Baby swimming lessons can help your child build confidence in the water and gain balance and gross motor skills. In fact, this study shows that children who took swimming lessons as infants had superior balance and motor skills even five years later. Although it's best to start getting your children used to the water when they are younger, swimming lessons are beneficial at any age.
Soccer is a great first team sport for kids, and communities usually have soccer programs for children as young as five. The rules are easy to learn so kids can focus on developing physical skills and learning how to play on a team. Children gain skills such as balance, coordination, accuracy; they build endurance as they run for long periods of time, and focus as they keep track of the ball as it moves across the field. Researchers have found that children engaged in high-impact weight-bearing activities like soccer had healthier bones, even if they were genetically at risk for bone fragility. Additionally, the opportunity to play on a team helps them develop important social skills such as communication. Playing soccer can also be tremendously good for a child’s social development. Livestrong says, “Playing with a soccer team develops a child’s ability to cooperate and interact with other children. To win a soccer game, the whole team must communicate and work together.”
Taking off the training wheels is a childhood tradition for a reason. It's the perfect physical, intellectual, and emotional challenge for lower elementary-aged children. Teaching your child how to ride a bike will be a great bonding experience. Learning how to ride a bike requires a delicate combination of balance, confidence, and coordination; the reward is the independence your child feels when they can travel down the street on their own. Biking promotes overall fitness and is a healthy activity that families can enjoy together whether they are riding around the neighborhood or exploring new trails. Medibank found that “Riding a bike not only improves physical fitness, it also benefits your child’s learning development and mental health. Research shows that students who ride a bike to school are more focused and ready to learn, compared with those who are driven. Taking part in regular physical activity also has links to increase happiness, as well as giving kids more opportunities to make social connections.”