Kids and Exercise: Staying Fit to Stay Healthy | New times


Just like adults, children need exercise to stay in shape and, most importantly, to prevent the illnesses that come with a sedentary life.

In fact, experts insist that most children need at least an hour of physical activity every day. With that, they say, comes many health benefits even in the future.

Also, when you are in good physical shape, you not only feel better, but you also stay healthier and the sooner a child starts to be physically active, the more they will reduce the risk.

When we talk about exercise for young children, Professor Joseph Mucumbitsi, cardiologist and president of the Rwanda Heart Foundation and the NCD Alliance, says it means playing and being physically active.

He says it’s important for parents to know and make sure that children need to be active every day because, at a young age, it helps promote healthy growth and development.

“At a young age, if children are exposed to physical exercise geared towards healthy lifestyles, they will carry it and its benefits for the rest of their lives, it will just become a culture for them,” he says.

How do you encourage your child to stay active?

Claudine Uwajeneza, nurse, says that during this time when the children are completely at home, there is no doubt that most of them now spend their time watching television and playing video games.

That, she says, means they don’t have time to play or engage in physical activity, which isn’t healthy.

“Despite parents’ tight work schedule, they should first set a good example by being active themselves and then help their children with that, over time it will become part of their life,” she said. .

She further explains that this can be done either by finding a few days a week to exercise together or by finding competitive sports for the kids to compete in.

According to her, it’s fun and at the same time, your family stays active. Alternatively, finding a fun sport that your kids enjoy is also essential as it will motivate them to continue participating in it.

Nelson Mukasa, physical trainer, explains that depending on the age of the child, it is essential to choose the right activities for him so that he does not get bored.

In addition, providing them with equipment, such as bicycles, will make them physically active.

It’s also important to keep in mind that young children and teens should get at least 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, according to Mukasa.

For toddlers, he says, playing as many times as possible per day is essential, adding that it’s recommended at least 120 minutes of active play each day.

Why it matters

Mucumbitsi says being physically active helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, and will ensure a good night’s sleep.

Mukasa says that certain exercises, such as stretches for children, have been shown to help improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to flex and move easily through their full range of motion.

Studies show that beyond the benefits to the body, physical activity also improves children’s mental and behavioral health. It increases a child’s enthusiasm and optimism and boosts self-esteem, academic performance, attention and behavior.

It also reduces anxiety, tension and depression. It can also promote teamwork and friendship when it is part of organized sport.

Mucumbitsi says exercise helps strengthen the heart. The heart is a muscle and, like other muscles, its performance improves when it is regularly called on by exercise.

“The heart responds to exercise by becoming stronger and more efficient. Strengthening heart muscle can help prevent heart disease, ”he says.

On top of that, he says exercise also helps keep arteries and veins clear because it reduces the amount of harmful cholesterol and fats in a person’s blood.

It increases the flexibility of the walls of blood vessels and helps lower blood pressure. It can lower a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

Meanwhile, experts say that in general, combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

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