Before teaching your child about the different forms of physical activity, there are a few steps you can take to make the process easier. Modeling engagement in healthy levels of physical activity can motivate your child to follow in your footsteps. Becoming physically active yourself helps your child learn the importance of movement. You can also plan to make it a family routine to engage in some form of exercise on a weekly basis so that it becomes easier to stay consistent. Children are more likely to engage in exercise that they enjoy; it’s important to learn about your child’s preferences so that they aren’t against giving it a try.
A few exercises you can introduce to your child are yoga, running, riding a bike, dancing, swimming, or playing sports. Yoga focuses on building flexibility and strength, while also working on deep breathing and staying in the present moment. Running helps form a healthier heart and lungs, while also impacting performance in a positive manner. Riding a bike outside lets your child stay connected with nature, which can boost their mood and quality of sleep. Additionally, dancing allows your child to express themselves and have a sense of community. Swimming may increase your child’s confidence and social well-being. Joining a sports team at school or a local center can help with team-building, developing stronger relationships, and endurance. All of these activities can positively influence your child’s mental health if done regularly.
All in all, let your child take small steps at a time so that they don’t get discouraged, and continue to find new ways in making exercise fun.
Navjot Pannu, Midwestern University Clerkship Student
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