January 27 is National Preschool Fitness Day! This is a great opportunity to talk with children and families about the importance of physical activity. Consider holding informational sessions for families regarding recommendations for physical activity and strategies to help children achieve the recommended levels of fitness each day. Plan a fitness day and come up with creative ways for children to move their bodies.
Let’s look below to discover all of the health benefits of children’s physical activity.
- Academic Performance– Improves attention and memory.
- Brain Health– Reduces risk of depression.
- Muscular Fitness– Builds strong muscles and endurance.
- Heart and Lung Health– Improves blood pressure and aerobic fitness.
- Cardiometabolic Health– Helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.
- Long-term Health– Reduces risk of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity.
- Bone Strength– Strengthens bones.
- Healthy Weight– Helps regulate body weight and reduce body fat.
According to the CDC, the amount of physical activity children need depends on their age. Children ages 3 through 5 years need to be active throughout the day. Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 need to be active for 60 minutes every day.
Preschoolers should include physical Activities every day throughout the day. This can be accomplished through active play with a variety of materials and equipment.
Teachers can encourage children to engage in physical activity in many ways. One is to make sure that daily schedules include blocks of physical activity, whether it is indoors or outside. Teachers can plan outdoor activities and provide equipment such as jump ropes, balls, rackets, and nets for children to use while being outside. If outdoor space is not available, then teachers should look for an area in the facility in which children can use their gross-motor muscles freely without crowding.
Check out these training courses at H&H Child Care Training Center to learn more about ways to incorporate active play every day!
*How much physical activity do children need? (2022, June 03). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/index.htm*