Engaging in regular physical activity is especially important for young children. It builds strength and develops healthy bodies and can even enhance academic performance. Regular physical activity also reduces the risk factors for obesity and diabetes and the development of common chronic diseases of adulthood, such as heart disease and certain cancers. Although kindergarteners are not yet at direct risk of developing many of these diseases, it is important that they begin developing the healthy habits that can impact whether they will develop them later in life.
The benefits to your child of physical activity can include:
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children aged 6 participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This does not need to be 60 minutes of sustained activity at a time, but can include different episodes of activity that, added together, total 60 minutes or more. Children should be engaged in a mix of activity levels, from vigorous activities, such as running around playing tag, to more moderate activities, such as using a scooter. The guidelines also recommend that children engage in vigorous physical activity at least three times a week.
Children in kindergarten do not need a structured exercise regimen, but physical activity should be a part of their everyday activities, with an emphasis on having fun and playing.
Your kindergartener is still developing basic motor skills, such as learning to run, jump, throw, and catch effectively. Physical activities at this age should include games and sports that focus on developing these fundamental skills through play, rather than competition.
Building muscle strength is especially important for children at this age and exercise is one of the main ways to achieve this goal. Muscle-strengthening activities are those that force the muscles to do more than their normal workload. For young children, the most effective muscle-building activities include swinging from monkey bars and playing games such as tug-of-war that require extra exertion. The guidelines recommend that children engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least three times a week.
Building bone strength is also important for growing children. Bone-strengthening exercises promote bone growth and build strength through the force that is exerted on the bones. Exercises that achieve this important goal include running, skipping rope, and playing hopscotch. The guidelines recommend that children engage in bone-strengthening activities at least three times a week.
From teeth brushing to being active, you can support your child's overall health.