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Get Kids Moving for Health

Get kids moving for health

East Coast's Radio Big Walk, where thousands of people took part last year doing either a 5, 10, 15, or 20 km walk, starting at uShaka. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad

Our global “neighbourhood” is growing smaller, and we can communicate at the touch of a button. Our actions and opinions are shaped and informed by social media, like Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and other sources.

However, in this fast-paced world, we are sitting more and moving less; we are gaining weight and are still malnourished.

Globally, less than 20% of children and youth are meeting recommendations for physical activity. And for the first time in history, there are more children who are overweight and obese compared to those who are under-nourished or stunted.

Both remain a problem; both are robbing children of reaching their full potential; both demand our urgent attention.

And although we recognise the importance of physical activity for preventing obesity and chronic disease later in life, the benefits of physical activity go beyond health.

Not only is regular physical activity necessary for normal growth and development, it promotes social connectedness, inclusiveness and gender equity.

The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the World Health Organisation (WHO) consider both the opportunity for children to participate in sport, physical activity or play, and “the highest attainable standard of health”, as fundamental human rights. This report also reflects the agenda of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

Here are some benefits of exercising for children:

  • Movement skills such as running, jumping, and throwing can serve as the building blocks for a lifetime of physical activity.
  • Apart from the numerous health benefits, regular physical activity can improve academic performance and promote feelings of well-being for youngsters.
  • Children and adolescents should accumulate at least 60minutes of physical activity daily as part of transportation, physical education, sport and free play.
  • The activities should be a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity. Moderate intensity is defined as activity that increases breathing, sweating, and heart rate, and vigorous intensity substantially increases breathing, sweating, and heart rate.
  • Children and adolescents should also participate in activities that promote muscle strength on two or three days a week.

Exercising together as a family brings extra benefits:

  • Parents can emphasise “best effort you can do” rather than “being the best” (with focus on comparison and competition).
  • Physical activity is a learned behaviour influenced by family, friends, teachers and coaches as well as environment.
  • Children and adolescents who are exposed to confidence-building opportunities in their physical abilities early in life tend to be more active later in life.
  • The family can focus on intrinsic values such as skills improvement, personal successes and having fun together.

Parents are able to recognise individual differences and capabilities in their children. It helps the family get creative together and you can even create your own games.

Parents become good role models for their children.

This will also offer opportunities for older children to help teach the younger children in the family.

The Discovery East Coast Radio Big Walk this Sunday is one of them. It’s a great family event where parents can bring their children for a fun day in the warm Durban sun along one the most beautiful promenades in the country.

A bonus is that they will get Vitality points depending on the distance they walk.

Story Credit: https://www.iol.co.za/mercury/get-kids-moving-for-health-15038460