How to teach children to be active?

How to teach children to be active?

The rate of sedentary young people is higher than ever. It is therefore imperative to get pre-adolescents to practice regular physical and sporting activities. Otherwise, the lack of physical exercise risks having unfortunate consequences on the health of tomorrow’s adults: obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.

To help our young people adopt an active lifestyle, let’s first help them sharpen their sense of self-efficacy, let’s help them feel competent.

Physical Literacy — meaning skills, balance, coordination, agility, etc. — is the foundation of basic motor and sport skills. The ability to situate oneself in space is also part of it. The maximum development of this “physical ease” takes place before the age of 13. Although it is possible to catch up later, the gains are much smaller after adolescence.

To ensure the development of their skills, it is important that young people be introduced to activities of all types, and in a variety of environments:

On the ground: traditional games, dance and other forms of physical activity.
In the water: water games, swimming.
On ice and snow: any sliding activity such as skating, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and sledding.
In the air: jumps, diving, gymnastics, trampoline, climbing trees.

Knowing how to move to be better activated
The mastery of basic motor skills such as running, jumping, swimming, throwing a ball, is a fundamental prerequisite for the good practice of sports activities. Young people who have not acquired these essential skills cut themselves off from the practice of many physical activities. For example, a child who cannot throw will not be able to practice baseball or basketball. A young person who does not feel skilled in a sports activity will not be motivated to participate in it either. He will tend to be discouraged more easily, and he will abandon sports practice. Conversely, by mastering all the motor skills, the young person will be much more inclined to take part in a sport and to be active, because he will feel competent.

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Some Effective Strategies
The period before puberty is the ideal phase for the development of basic motor skills, coordination and fine motor skills, since the brain is then developed enough to quickly integrate commands. Here are some ways to help your youngsters develop their physical skills:

encourage them to participate in sporting activities with their friends, whether organized or not, every day, regardless of the weather;
diversify sports practice. It is important for young people to practice a variety of sports throughout the seasons;
encourage them to try new roles or positions in team sport;
stimulate the development of cardiorespiratory fitness through intermittent activities such as relay races, and also offer them activities that promote the development of flexibility such as yoga.

Young people with good physical and motor skills are generally in better physical condition, and they are more likely to participate in a variety of physical activities and sports on a regular basis.

Superior physical fitness not only reduces the burden of obesity and known health conditions, but is also linked to higher self-esteem. Indeed, the combination of motor skills and physical fitness is associated with better self-esteem and better abilities in both girls and boys. So many good reasons to develop the physical literacy of children in order to cultivate the health of our adults of tomorrow.

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