One of the most disturbing trends to emerge in recent years is the rising number of overweight children in our country. In most cases, excess weight results from unhealthy eating habits and lack of proper exercise. Increased consumption of electronic devices and pressure to excel academically has also resulted in lower physical activity rates in children. As these habits take root earlier on, encouragement of physical activity should ideally begin early. It is the responsibility of all parents and teachers to inculcate the significance of exercise amongst children.
Combine healthy eating with exercise
Medical practitioners suggest that the most effective strategies for combating obesity are routine physical activity, healthier eating habits, along with minimal screen time. These preventive methods must be adopted earlier on to ensure a lifetime of good health. Parents must ensure that children avoid junk food and aerated drinks. A balanced diet that includes wholesome and healthy meals, fruits, and vegetables fulfills the nutrition requirements for children. Healthier eating patterns combined with the right volume of activities also go a long way toward reducing future health risks.
The journey to good health begins early. Healthy habits must be formed at a younger age. At three years and above, children must engage in at least 45-60 minutes of exercise and activity daily. They must start with moderate exercises such as playground activities and cycling and graduate to more intensive activities such as organized sports and running. Playground activities such as climbing, jumping, skipping, and hopping ensure the early development of healthy joints, muscles, and bones.
Making exercise fun
In younger children, physical and cognitive development are simultaneous and co-dependent. Regular exercise at this stage is critical to ensure that the brain’s functions develop well. Daily playtime and exercise must be an integral part of any child’s routine as it has a host of benefits. Children are naturally hyperactive and exercise ensures that their energy is channelised properly and that they sleep well at night. As children get older, enroll them in organized sports. This will help them form new circles and also imbibe the values of teamwork, determination, and perseverance.
Young role models
There has been an increasing awareness of sports and fitness with many young sportspersons excelling on the world stage. Be it tennis star Sania Mirza, badminton champion Saina Nehwal, or cricket team captain Virat Kohli. They have all set examples for young children. All these athletes began their sports journey at a young age and their success stories have inspired kids to engage in exercise and sports.
A fit India
Ensuring the fitness and good health of children is the combined responsibility of parents, teachers, and coaches. They must work together to make physical activities fun and install a love for the outdoors in children. Restricting screen time may not be easy with but with time children will learn to prefer physical activities to electronic devices. For our future generation to be happy and healthy, it’s imperative to make regular exercise an integral part of every child’s upbringing. Fitter children will ensure a fitter India.