Physical activities that help children’s brain development and growth

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Physical inactivity is now considered the leading cause of death in the world. In children, this can lead to an increased incidence of obesity and other lifestyle disorders. There has been an alarming increase in childhood obesity over the past decade, which is secondary to either lack of physical activity or overeating. Physical activity during infancy is critically important in helping to reduce the increased health risks associated with obesity and overweight.

Physical activity and sport have immediate and usual health benefits. The acute impact of moderate to vigorous physical activity is to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, improve alertness and cognitive function. Regular physical activity can have a habitual impact on anxiety, deep sleep, executive functions such as the ability to plan, organize, inhibit or facilitate behavior and emotional control. This not only improves processing speed, but also improves academic performance.

Preschool children aged 3 to 5 should be encouraged to participate in active games and structured activities, such as throwing games and riding a bicycle or tricycle. They must engage in activities that allow them to move their body (crawling, crawling, sliding, jumping, jumping, running, sliding and climbing) in different directions and on different surfaces (flat, inclined, wavy, wet and dry). They should also practice postural control and balance. They must be able to move their body up and down in space without touching the ground (jumping, jumping, jumping, bouncing and jumping), as well as experiencing various types of body contortion (turning, turning, rolling, twist, tumble, gesture, bend, stretch and reach).

It is important for them to learn directionality (up, down, sideways, backwards and forwards) and the different time sequences (going fast or slow, fast or slow, and moving your body in time to different forms of music as well as to ‘at different rhythms or sound patterns).

Children ages 6 to 17 can experience substantial health benefits from moderate, vigorous physical activity for up to 60 minutes or more each day, ranging from aerobic exercise to muscle and bone building activities . Examples are running, swimming, dancing, jumping, skipping, skipping, and cycling.

Muscle building activities that kids can enjoy can be unstructured and can be part of play, such as playing with playground equipment, climbing trees, and playing tug of war. Running, basketball, tennis, skipping rope, and hopscotch are activities that stimulate bone strength and growth.

Children should experience a variety of shapes of equipment used in physical sports through visual memory, symbolic memory, linguistic, kinesthetic and proprioceptive properties of each shape (round, oval, square, thin, crooked and straight). The physical characteristics of sporting goods, such as sticks, balls, hockey sticks and rackets, must be made accessible. They will be exposed to a variety of concepts and actions.

Strong versus weak, heavy versus light, smooth versus rough, smooth versus jerky, push versus pull experience will provide children with basic skills that will enable them to overcome physical and mental challenges. These experiences will also help them develop confidence in their ability to perform their skills. Physical sports help them not only to grow physically, but also to improve their decision-making skills, their socio-emotional development by teaching team spirit, accepting wins and losses and making friends.

(The writer is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, and the director and co-founder of Continua kids)

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