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physical activities

Physical Activity Guidelines for Children

Physical activity is very important for those who wish to stay healthy. Babies and young children should strive to meet physical activity guidelines if they want to develop normally.

Remaining active also helps to encourage continued flexibility and the development of motor skills. Guidelines for physical activities differ depending on the age of the person [...] Read more →

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Should Children Drink Fruit Juices

Giving your children the right foods and drinks is very important, because young bodies require the right nutrition to grow and develop.

It can be very difficult to find the right balance, especially when children are very young. One widely debated topic is whether fruit juices are actually good for children? Although some nutritional specialists [...] Read more →

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Activities to Strengthen Muscles and Bones

It is important for children to engage in physical activity to encourage their physical development. All physical activities help children to develop their motor skills, but some activities also help children to develop mental skills as well.

Different physical activities also help children to develop certain areas of their bodies. Your child’s paediatrician may actually [...] Read more →

Recommended Sites

Lots of information and recommended guidelines from the NHS on childrens health. Click the image to visit.


NHS Choices


Detailed information and resources from the UK government website. Click the image to visit.


Gov UK

Outdoors Sports that You can do with Your Children

Outdoor activities are great for kids because they help to keep children fit and healthy. Spending time in the outdoors also allows children to get a breath of fresh air. It can be really worthwhile to spend time in the outdoors with your children. Here are some activities that you can do with them in the outdoors.

Sprinkler Fun and Water Games

If you have a sprinkler system at your home, you can have fun whilst watering the garden. Play a simple game which the sprinkler system where you try to avoid getting wet whilst the sprinkler moves around. This is the perfect game to play on a hot, sunny day when you all need to cool down.

Alternatively, you can play a game with water balloons in the garden. Either choose all out war and throw them at one another, or play games which involve protecting the balloons. In these games, participants must use the motor skills to try to protect the balloons from being burst. Protection games normally require skill and precision. If you fail, you will get wet!

If you do decide to play games with water balloons, make sure that you take the time to pick up all of the pieces of rubber that are left over, because this rubber could be accidentally eaten by animals.

Orienteering

Orienteering is a fun outdoor activity to try with your children. Not only does orienteering involve vigorous physical exercise, it also helps to build planning and organisational skills.

Participants are given a special map of the orienteering location which shows the position of various checkpoints. Participants must walk or run between these checkpoints in a specific order (on a normal course) or in an order of their choosing (on a score course). Participants are given a small electronic device that allows them to record the exact time that they get to the checkpoint.

Although older children can do simple orienteering courses by themselves, most orienteering clubs will allow family groups to travel around the course together.

beach football

Beach Football

Jumpers for Goalposts!

Being able to play football in the park with their family members is a joy for most children. The rules are often relaxed compared to formalised football games and the participants may be forced to use jumpers for goalposts! All that you need is a football and a wide open space. You can even play informal football games at the beach.

French Cricket

French Cricket is an informal take on the normal version of cricket.

There is one batsperson who stands in the middle of a group of bowlers. The bowlers must try to dismiss the batsperson by catching them our or hitting their legs with the ball below the knee. The batsperson must stand with their legs firmly rooted to the spot and try to twist their body to protect their legs with the bat. Fielders may pass the ball between one another, but they may not move unless they are chasing a ball which has been hit by the batsperson or if they are picking up a ball which is on the ground. Once the batsperson is dismissed they must swap places with the bowler who threw the ball that resulted in the dismissal.

Beach Olympics

Creating your own Olympics on the beach will allow you to try out loads of different outdoor sports with your kids. Events that you can include in your own personal Olympics can include running, long jump, swimming and many other things. You can personalise the events to the skills of your children or create crazy competitions that will have them in fits of giggles.

Cycling

Cycling has developed a massive following in the United Kingdom, thanks to the success of the cycling team in the last few Olympic Games. Because of the boom in people who are interested in cycling, local authorities have begun to invest far more money in local cycle paths and routes. There are now a number of national cycling trails that are largely free from road traffic. These routes are well-signposted so you are unlikely to get lost.

If you do decide to go cycling with your children, it is important that they understand the basics of cycling safety. You should make sure that your children (and anyone else who you are cycling with) wear a cycling helmet to protect them if they fall off their bike. A properly fitting helmet can reduce the chances of suffering a serious head injury in the event that there is an accident.

You should also make sure that children wear high visibility clothing and have reflectors on their bikes if they are planning on cycling on a road or cycle path. These items help to make them more visible to other people who are driving or cycling around them.

Activities to Strengthen Muscles and Bones

It is important for children to engage in physical activity to encourage their physical development. All physical activities help children to develop their motor skills, but some activities also help children to develop mental skills as well.

Different physical activities also help children to develop certain areas of their bodies. Your child’s paediatrician may actually suggest certain types of exercise if they want to encourage improved development in areas where the existing development has started to slow.

Guidelines for Physical Activities in Children

The recommended amount of physical activity for children differs depending on how old they are. Babies are encouraged to move through play when they are not asleep. These movements encourage muscles and joints to develop. Infants should also be given “tummy time” where they are allowed to reach and move about whilst on their stomach. This helps to prevent their range of movements from becoming restricted.

Once they are able to walk more confidently, toddlers require at least 180 minutes of physical activity per day, and more vigorous activities are encouraged, especially if they have been forced to remain sedentary at any point during the day. Changes in movement from moderate to vigorous exercises are best for physical development.

Children who are over the age of 5 only require 60 minutes of physical activity per day, which should range from moderate to vigorous. There should be a fairly even balance between moderate and vigorous activities to continue to develop muscle growth and coordination. It is important that children spend at least 90 minutes per week (three 30 minute sessions) doing exercises that specifically build strong muscles and strong bones.

Building Muscle Strength

Building muscle strength is important, because muscles control movement and affect coordination.

Muscle strength is necessary for general daily activities and helps to reduce weakness and fatigue. Muscle strengthening activities are activities which generally require children to work against a stronger form of resistance. Doing a mixture of muscle strengthening activities will help them to build a range of different muscle groups.

Many activities that are specifically enjoyed by children include a muscle building aspect, and therefore children may not need to set out to specifically perform muscle strengthening activities. These activities include pastimes like; swinging on the monkey bars in the park, climbing trees, completing assault courses, and engaging in games like tug of war. Children’s football, rugby and tennis also help children to build muscle.

Older children may need to set out to specifically do muscle-strengthening activities by carefully choosing sports that build different muscle groups. Options that could appeal to older children may include; sit-ups, press-ups, resistance training (weights, exercise bands), rock climbing, basketball, and gymnastics.

Strengthening Bones

Bone-strengthening activities are designed to promote bone growth and strength. This is important for children whilst they are still growing, because it encourages healthy bone growth. It also reduces the risks associated with weak bones, including breaks and sprains.

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Kids martial arts

Bone-strengthening activities also require children to work against resistance or work to lift their own body weight. Most playground equipment and non-static toys (tricycles etc) encourage bone strengthening through increased movement. Climbing frames are particularly useful. Skipping with a rope is an excellent choice, because it involves bone strengthening activities in both the arms (turning the rope) and the legs (jumping over the rope). Other playground games like hopscotch are also encouraged, because they build coordination as well as bone strength.

Gymnastics, dance and martial arts are all good choices for people who are looking for bone strengthening activities. This is because they encourage controlled movements against resistance and use the whole body.

Older children may find that they would prefer to be involved in organised team sports. There are plenty of choices for those who are looking for sports that build bone strength, including; rugby, netball, hockey and football.

Those participating in contact sports should listen carefully to the instruction of their coaches so that they know how to minimise the risk of injury. If your child has suffered an injury because of negligence all reputable sports clubs should be covered by their insurance company if a personal injury claim is started against them. Alternatively, they can try non-contact variants of these sports, such as Tag Rugby.

For those who prefer to exercise alone, weight training is a possibility. Weight training is normally only recommended for young adults who are over the age of 15.

Before your child engages in any weight training, they must complete an induction at the gym, so that they will understand how to use the weights safely. Incorrect usage of weight equipment can be dangerous and may put unnatural strain onto the body. This can do more harm than good.

Most gyms will advise that weights over a certain mass should not be used without a spotter. A spotter is a person who is on-hand to help the lifter if they were to get into any trouble with the weights that they are using. Some gyms also put weight restrictions onto young adults.