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Children and Physical Fitness

Do your children exercise? These days, with more children turning to computer games and television for entertainment, they don't get enough of a work out. Read on.

Physical fitness is the buzzword now. Today almost everyone adult is pursuing some form of exercise, either to keep fit or to lose weight. Regular exercises promote good health and a positive self-image. However, we often tend to ignore the importance of physical fitness in young children. Encouraging them to exercise during the early years can lead to lifelong healthy habits.

As parents, we can help our children develop a positive attitude towards physical fitness. Here are a few tips.

Let them learn from you

As with all habits good and bad, children learn the most from the actions of adults they are most closely associated with. Priya, mother of 9-year-old twin girls, says, "As parents we encourage them to join us while we are off for our morning walk. My husband plays badminton with them thrice a week at the local club. That way we keep ourselves fit and also find time to enjoy some time together away from our busy routines." Growing up in an environment where importance is given to keeping fit will influence your child's beliefs and commitments to physical fitness.

Join a club

Enrol them in a club or a sports centre where they can try attending coaching classes for various sports. Keep the options open. Trying out different sports can help children decide which one is most enjoyable for them to pick up and continue, but at the same time, don't pressurise them to excel. All they need to learn is to enjoy playing the game so that it is both healthy and time well spent. Let them continue these activities both in and out of school if they enjoy it.

Set reasonable goals

It is not enough to exercise at random. Having a defined routine along with attainable goals makes it exciting for children. As teachers and parents it helps to talk to children about the importance of keeping goals in their fitness programme. Make sure the goals are not tough and unattainable. It can be as simple as playing for an hour everyday or as tough as breaking the local record if your child excels in the sport.

Be a role model

Talk to your children about your interests, goals and how you intend to attain them. Being open about your exercise habits encourages them to participate in fitness programmes and develop a keen interest in pursuing their games.

Make it fun

The best part of it all is to make the activity enjoyable. Most of us despise things that are forced upon us. The same is true for exercising. If they see you enjoy your fitness activities, they too will grow up to like what they do. Let them choose a programme or sport of their choice and allow them to learn at their pace. Give them feedback on what they are doing. This will stimulate their participation in physical activities.

These little tips can go a long way in developing an active and healthy lifestyle right from a young age. By encouraging and promoting physical fitness we can help build a generation of children who will benefit from regular exercise.

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