Health and wellness experts are of the opinion that children should be exposed to exercise as early as possible so that they can enjoy the many physical and cognitive benefits that come with exercising. The only caveat is that the exercises they are involved in should be age appropriate. At a minimum, it’s recommended that children should have at least an hour of physical activity every day.
These are the recommended fitness exercises for kids by their age group.
Kids at age 5 and below
At this age, any physical activity that kids are exposed to should be purely about play. It’s very much okay to expose kids to sports activities like basketball, soccer, swimming and ensure they know they are playing for fun and not for competition. At this age they are still working on their coordination skills therefore such exercises will help them develop them faster.
Kids between ages 6 and 8
At this age, kids have developed significant coordination skills therefore in addition to swimming, soccer and basketball, you can introduce them to baseball, gymnastics, bicycles, and other athletic activities. The earlier they start playing diverse sports the earlier you will be able to identify where their talents lie at the same time ensuring their overall healthy development.
Kids between ages 9 and 11
At this age, kids have much better coordination including hand-eye coordination and this means you can enhance the competitiveness in the games they participate in. Just ensure you don’t put so much pressure on them to win. At this age, you should be open to letting your child participate in any type of exercise they want, just facilitate their safety.
Kids between ages 12 and 14
At this point, kids are approaching their adolescent age therefore they are likely to lose interest in structured sports but this will mainly depend on their level of passion for the different sports that they were exposed to. At this age it’s okay to introduce your child to exercise related to body and muscle strength, just keep in mind that they should only start lifting weights once they hit puberty. It’s important to at this point start educating them on health benefits of different exercises and the pros and cons of each. They are now old enough to be able to make decisions therefore they need sufficient information so as to be able to make informed choices.
Kids at age 15 and above
At this age it’s advisable to enroll them in a professional weight training class that’s if they don’t participate in any sports. If they are active in sports, this will form part of their training regimen. Injuries are common at this stage as the kids experiment with different sports and other extreme events such as triathlons and decathlons.
It’s important for parents to ensure they support their kids at every stage of the process and always encourage them and ensure they have all safety equipment that is required to participate in their sports of choice. The better the fitness habits formed as a child is growing up, the more active they will be later in life.