You may not notice it, but your little kids are probably used to being sedentary. They're probably spending too much time watching TV or playing with their gadgets.
Whichever they do, their health is affected. Previous studies revealed that kindergarten children who spend at least one hour a day watching TV have increased chances of being obese or overweight compared with peers who do not watch TV.
Unfortunately, this occurs among many children. Experts in the United Kingdom discovered that nine out of 10 children under the age of five are inactive and are not getting enough exercise.
Make Exercise Part Of A Daily Routine
The British Heart Foundation on Wednesday released a report - which is called The Best Start in Life - A manifesto for physical activity in the early years -- that revealed only 9 percent of toddlers aged two to four get at least three hours of physical activity a day, the recommended amount of exercise.
The charity is now urging the Government to create policies which make exercising for under-fives an essential part of everyday life at home, in nurseries and in the community.
With that, experts want health workers to track these little kids' levels of physical activity during early years. Suggested physical activities include running, walking, climbing, skipping, riding a bike or playing.
"This manifesto outlines how we can create an environment for children that encourages them and stimulates them to be active," said Elaine McNish, the charity's National Center for Physical Activity and Health director.
She said their report is a call to lawmakers to make sure that the setting for kids during their early years are aligned to active environments.
"We know active children are more likely to become active adults," said McNish. "It's vitally important to get it right at the beginning to give children opportunities to play from a young age and develop a lifelong love of being active."
Why Exercising Is Important
As the country is fighting the threats of obesity, physical activity is becoming increasingly important. Data suggests that one in 10 children in England was obese when starting primary school in 2014 to 2015.
This is not a good thing, as medical researchers in the United States have detected signs of heart disease in obese children as young as 8 years old.
The kids were found to have thickened heart muscles and increased muscle mass in their left ventricle. This could increase their risk of facing early death when they grow up as obese adults, experts said.
Aside from that, the country is seeing a surge in the numbers of adults who are becoming overweight or obese. Obesity-related diseases will cost the National Health Service more than £2.5 billion or about $3.6 billion every year.
Experts say being active not only keeps little kids at a healthy weight, but it also improves their bone health, and supports their muscular and brain development.
"As a nation we need help to recognize the importance of physical activity for early years and the contribution this makes to general health and heart health," said Lisa Young, project manager for prevention and behavior change at the British Heart Foundation.
"Developing a love of being active from a young age is important as we know active children become active adults, and active adults are healthier adults," she added.
Tips To Get Your Kids Moving
Fortunately, there is a way to get your kids moving.
The National Association of Sport and Physical Education suggests that your toddler should be getting at least 30 minutes of structured exercise and at least an hour of unstructured exercise every day. Structured exercise involves a physical activity such as a tricycle ride or a game of kickball, while unstructured exercise involves a session of free play at the park.
Go outside with your kid. Being out under the sunshine will inspire you and your kid to get moving. Take your kids to a playground where she can climb, run around and jump. You can also play a game of tag in your own backyard, or teach your kids to play mini-tennis.
Incorporate fitness into your day. If possible, you and your kid should walk to the supermarket. Get your toddler out of the stroller so she can stretch her legs. Take the stairs instead of the escalator so you and your kid can "step up" your physical activity.
Set the right example. No matter which strategy you apply, the best way to get your little kid to exercise is by showing her that you're doing it, too. You can make family outings that involve hiking, swimming or walking fun by having the whole family perform the activities together. You can also sign up for yoga classes for both you and your little kid. The important thing is to get moving.
Photo: Brisbane City Council | Flickr