The Importance of Physical Activeness for Children and Teens

In December 1960, President John Kennedy said in an interview:

"The knowledge that the physical well-being of the citizen is an important foundation for the vigor and vitality of all the activities of the nation, is as old as the Western civilization itself. But it is a knowledge which today, in America, we are in danger of forgetting."

In the award-winning documentary "The Motivation Factor", it was shown that back in the 1800's, one-third of school time was spent on physical exercise. And based on research, the physical fitness directly affects the mental and physiological well-being of children.

In today's society, children are becoming more and more sedentary with the advance of technology and lack of emphasis on physical activities. Sedentary lifestyle has been proven to be the cause of a lot of what we call "psychosomatic illnesses" and dullness of the mind.

In modern school systems, children are forced to remain seated throughout the day, with the Physical Education neglected or deemed recreational instead of a necessity. Add to this the proliferation of video games and electronic devices, increasing the period of being still.

Physical activities are vital for children as they help improve the mind-body connection, increasing dexterity, and develop social skills. Children who are physically fit has less incidence of depression, mood swings and low self-esteem. Sports and team activities give them also competitive spirit and increase persistence on a given course.

These are some of the things recommended for your children:

1. At least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.

2. Limit their screen time. For children 2 to 5 years old, their screen time should be 1 hour a day. 2 hours for school-age kids.

3. Encourage children to play physical games. Make the games exciting and you should add variety so that they won't get bored easily.

4. Be a role model for your kids. If they see you exercise, it's easier to motivate them to do the same thing.

5. Make plans for family activities like camping, biking, swimming, hiking and other sports.

Starting them young will help them make physical fitness a life-long habit which will benefit them in countless ways. Just look around you sometime and you will notice those children who are active are much more happier than children who are sitting still.

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