Being Active Today for a Healthier Future
KidSport Blog Post #5
At KidSport, the importance of physical activity in the lives of children is apparent. Every day we hear from KidSport Kids who have increased their health, improved their strength, and are doing better in school because KidSport gave them access to sport. These improvements will continue over the rest of their lives, as habits formed and lessons learned as kids stick with them into the future. How does childhood sport lead to a better future? Read today's blog to find out!
As a student in the faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation at the U of A, I have learned a lot in my five years of studies about the importance of physical activity. Every class was another chance to gain knowledge about the multitude of positive benefits that physical activity can have on an individual, and more broadly, society as whole. When starting my practicum here at KidSport, I could immediately draw parallels between what I learned in school and the “real world” examples that are evident throughout this organization.
Data from Stats Canada states that 1 in 3 kids (ages 5-17) are obese or overweight. And even more don’t participate in enough daily activity recommended by public health guidelines. To read more, click here.
What Can We Do?
Although the increasing rates of childhood obesity can look daunting and scary for parents, there are ways that we can combat these rising statistics. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s (CSEP’s) guidelines state that Children and Youth should have at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. This can include bike riding, running, swimming, skating, and much more.
Interestingly enough, all those forms of physical activity suggested in the CSEP guidelines can be seen in sports. BMX, soccer, hockey, swimming, and many other activities/sports can be a way to get those 60 minutes of activity that kids need daily. Although physical activity may be tough in the moment, your kids will thank you for it in the future.
In fact, the CSEP guidelines suggest that being active for 60 minutes a day can help children:
- Improve their health
- Do better in school
- Improve their fitness
- Grow stronger
- Have fun playing with friends
- Feel happier
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Improve their self-confidence
- Learn new skills
All of these points above can actually aid a child in their development, and set them up for success in their future, adult lives. This is because children who are active growing up are more likely to continue being active as they become adults.
Physical Activity as Preventative Health Care:
Having physical literacy, sports skill sets, and a drive to continue to be physically active into adulthood is extremely important. In fact, according to CSEP, being a physically active adult can help to reduce the risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, and much more. To further this point, it is also important to be active as an adult because it will aid in the transition to older adulthood (65+ years old). This is because being active, strong, and balanced as an older adult can aid in maintaining functional independence, maintaining mental health and much more.
Therefore, being physically active now as a youth can, in a way, be a preventative health care for the years to come. This is because as physically active children get older (and continue to be physically active as adults), they decrease their risk of many diseases that would land them in the healthcare system. Being physically active is not only good for the individuals’ body and health, but also for society as a whole because of the potential to decrease the financial strain on the Candian healthcare system.
All-in-all, it is important that children be active now for a healthier future. They can do so by following the CSEP guidelines, joining sports teams, or by simply playing. The options are endless, yet they will make a world of difference for your kids in the future.
To read more about the CSEP guidelines, click here.