The pandemic impacted everyone’s lives, daily lives were at a standstill, and many started working from home. But the most impacted were children. As COVID began to spread, nations worldwide were forced to shut down, and people were asked to quarantine and maintain social distancing. Children for whom the physical activity was necessary came to a sudden halt. They were also forced to learn online, ceasing all social and physical activities.
Later, surveys were conducted to understand the emotional impact on children due to the pandemic. Many parents were worried about their children’s attention span, eating habits, and weight gain. In this blog, we discuss encouraging children how to start exercising again.
Want to make sure your kids stay active and engaged after the pandemic?
A] Impact of the pandemic on children’s fitness:
Children were impacted by the pandemic, as screen time, watching television, and gaming increased at an alarming rate. The stability and routine were disrupted, especially during the lockdown. Parents were forced to manage between housework, office work, and quality time with the children. This had harmful effects on children’s mental and physical health, as they were forced to stay indoors.
Following are some of the side-effects of children not exercising:
1. Developing Stress
Stress is one of the primary factors in developing anxiety. Physical activity is considered one of the most effective ways to eliminate or relieve it. Children felt stressed and irritated due to little to no physical activity during the pandemic.
2. Mood Swings
Active children have positive experiences, develop social circles, and build relationships with others. Exercise releases endorphins, which improve mood, relieve anxiety and decrease the risk of depression. During the pandemic, since children were inactive, they became easily irritated and agitated, increasing mental and physical risk.
3. Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is vital, and it affects children’s well-being too. Experts recommend that teens and school kids should sleep for 9 to 11 hours a night. Lack of sleep results in attention problems, memory loss, and delayed response time. Due to the lack of activity during the pandemic, children have trouble falling asleep and difficulty maintaining a sleeping pattern. To avoid these problems, it must be ensured that children stay physically active throughout the day.
4. Impact on school performance
Exercise is linked to improved brain and academic activity. Since they are associated with feel-good hormones, they can improve concentration and alertness. In addition to that, it improves the blood flow to the brain. These benefits are crucial, and including exercise as a part of a child’s day is a necessity.
5. Risk of diseases
To reduce the risk of developing diseases, children need to keep exercising. Maintaining a routine of physical activities will help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Moreover, exercising every day helps strengthen the bones and muscles and maintain a healthy weight. It can reduce the risk of developing certain diseases in the future.
6. Childhood obesity
Childhood obesity is one of the pressing impacts of the pandemic. Even though children are not seriously affected by COVID-19. There are, however, higher risks when young people suffer from obesity. Since schools were closed and most were confined to homes, physical activity was limited. Suppose someone had a playground or an open area in their home; that became easier. But, for many, it didn’t. Children became lethargic and began to be heavily dependent on technology for entertainment.
Let’s see how to begin exercising again for children post-pandemic.
B] How to Increase Children’s Activity Levels after COVID:
It is important to ensure that children get as much physical activity as possible after the pandemic. We learned about the impact it can have on children, and to prevent it, physical activity is necessary. So, how can we get them to start exercising again? Here are some activities they can begin with:
Climbing is an excellent exercise that builds strength and muscle while promoting flexibility and body awareness. It helps children learn to predict and plan their movements, making it a great activity for kids as it doesn’t require a lot of physical strength.
Swinging develops motor skills, balance, and coordination. It helps the brain make sense of speed. Children will build muscle as they grip and use their feet and bodies to pump the swing higher. Along with swinging, they can also play on the bars. This will help with movement from one bar to the next.
3. Free Play
Here, children can explore and develop their creativity. It is an activity that will cultivate language skills, coordination, team play, planning, and social skills. Kids will learn to follow the rules, share, and take turns during play. These free-play games will help them understand the body language and tone of voice of others.
4. Playing Ball Games
Basketball and football develop children’s agility and muscles. They will learn to move their feet quickly and, at the same time, build coordination. As kids figure out how to throw, kick, or catch a ball, they must make quick decisions and develop strategies.
C] How much physical activities do children require:
As we all know, kids need to stay active and healthy, but did you know that the amount of physical activity they need changes as they grow? For little ones between 3-5 years old, it’s important for them to be active and moving all day long. As they get older, kids between 6-17 should aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
But let’s be real, getting kids to exercise can be a challenge. The key is to make it fun! For younger children, activities like climbing trees, swinging, running, or even gymnastics are perfect for building muscle and having a blast. As they grow older, they can branch out to more specific muscle-strengthening activities like weightlifting. And, you know what else is a great way to get kids moving? Walking to school with their friends! Not only is it a moderate-intensity activity, but they’ll also likely be running, playing, and chasing each other, which counts as vigorous-intensity activity. But, after exercising, they need to take ample rest too.
What are the activities they can do?
1. Aerobic activity
This should be done for at least 60 minutes daily. These include walking, running, or any activity that makes their heart beat faster. Experts suggest aerobic exercise should be done at least three days a week and include vigorous, intense activity.
2. Strengthening muscle
Activities such as climbing, running, and push-ups can help develop strength. They should be encouraged to participate in them at least three days per week. They must also do recovery exercises, such as stretching right after vigorous exercise.
Bone-strengthening: Activities children can do as they start exercising again are jumping or running. This should be practised at least three days per week. PE in schools can also ensure they meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity.
Want to make sure your kids stay active and engaged after the pandemic?
By ensuring children get the physical activity they need, they will be healthier and happier. Getting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise at school or home.
It is, however, equally important to remember to be a role model. When they see parents actively involved physically, they will also be on board. Parents can also ensure their children enjoy exercise by taking them on hikes, swimming, and group activities. Avoid criticism; respect children’s choices, but encourage them to participate rather than be just spectators. Also, keep safety a priority, but make sure they rest too to know how to recover from exercise.
Inspired Schools’ vision is to make a difference in young people’s lives by creating happier and healthier schools. Children should engage in learning through physical activity.
We can help you install fitness stations, train staff, and build a healthier community in schools in the playground for children. Our products and services are designed in a way that improves children’s health and creates a positive impact on academics and behaviour. You can contact us or visit our website to learn more about our services and products.