Starting a routine of healthy activity and physical fitness with a child is much more likely to form the basis of a lifetime of exercise and eating right. The basics of physical fitness for children form an important component of everyday life, and regular exercise should always be encouraged. Exercise can easily be worked into daily activities, such as walking to the corner store rather than driving, or time can be made for age-specific sports and other activities.
Emphasizing the basics of physical fitness for children not only helps a child maintain a healthy weight, but also helps ensure proper development. When a child isn't carrying extra pounds, bones grow stronger, muscles become well developed, and the cardiovascular system is more efficient. Helping the body grow stronger and form better from an early age can help prevent problems in adulthood.
One of the most general guidelines for the basics of physical fitness for children is that approximately an hour a day should be filled with some kind of physical activity. This is the minimum that has been found necessary, and encouraging participation in more activities is advised. Similarly, children should not be permitted to remain inactive for long periods of time, such as when sitting in front of the television.
Activity should be geared toward the age of the child to prevent dangerous wear and tear on developing bones and muscles. For younger children, physical activity can be made into games that encourage jumping, climbing, running, and balancing; making the activity fun will create a time that parents and children alike can look forward to. As the child grows, he or she will be able to participate in organized sports or take classes in activities such as gymnastics or martial arts. Many of these classes have specific ages they are geared to, helping to ensure they are not only safe but provide maximum effectiveness.
Children should also be encouraged to find ways to be physically active on their own. This can include regular outings, bike riding, rollerblading, or hiking. One of the best things a parent can do is illustrate how important physical activity is; participating with the child is a good way to do this.
The basics of physical fitness for children rely on the child's enjoyment of the activity and safety while participating. In addition to a healthy physical body, participation in different activities will help build confidence and self-esteem while exposing a child to a variety of different sports and activities, any one of which may spark a lifetime of interest. Activities with family members are one of the most important basics and will help ensure a close-knit family with plenty of things to do together.