Fitness

What's your child's fitness personality?

Children playing basketball Photo: M. Periasamy

Children playing basketball Photo: M. Periasamy  

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The fitness lessons offered in schools are rarely adequate for children. At least one hour of exercise a day is recommended. At present, most schools do not offer a daily one-hour exercise routine. Besides, within the limited time allocated, changing clothes, lining-up and getting instructions take up a substantial portion of time, reducing the actual time spent on physical activity.

It is essential to assess your child's fitness personality. Each child's fitness personality is unique. Take a few moments to jot down your child's personality. Remember, inactive children are likely to become inactive adults. Physical activity results in overall physical, psychological and social benefits.

1. Is your child athletic?

2. Is your child a casual athlete?

3. Is your child sedentary?

An athletic child will want to be on the basket ball team or excel in swimming; while the casual athlete may just enjoy playing cricket or badminton on the playground. The non-athletic child, on the other hand, is likely to need a parent's help and encouragement to get physically active.

Exercise benefits

* Improves sleep patterns

* Keeps the body strong and in shape

* Improves posture

* Helps concentration

* Reduces stress and anxiety

* Enhances self-esteem

1. The Athletic Child

Your child is committed to sport or regular physical activity, and is likely to concentrate on practice time. You child also enjoys the thrill of competition. Teach your kid that it's not only about winning, but the joy of engaging in a sport or exercise is important too.

Recommendations

* Help him/ her remain focussed and motivated.

* Encourage your child to constantly improve skills and remain challenged.

* Evaluate progress.

* Encourage participation in sports.

* Watch as many professional matches as possible with your child.

Fit tip

Support efforts and check that your child:

* Manages schoolwork.

* Gets enough rest and sleep.

2. The Casual Athlete

Your child likes being active, but may not be driven enough to participate in competitive sports. Most children fall in this category. They are perfectly happy and fit – being casual participants.

Recommendations

Evaluate your child's fitness habits and set achievable goals.

Aim to fit in exercise 5 to 7 days a week.

Reward, praise and offer encouragement.

Vary physical activity routines.

Fit tip

Motivation is a crucial factor in any exercise regimen. Without motivation, it is all too easy to make excuses to slack off. Slacking off for a day can turn into slacking off for a week, a month, and eventually quitting the fitness habit altogether.

3. The Sedentary Child

Your child may lack interest in physical activity. Long hours on the computer or addiction to the television can result in a sedentary lifestyle. Finding a fun activity for your child can be the motivating factor that leads to a lifetime of physical fitness.

Recommendations

Encourage physical activity based on your child's personality.

Educate your child to recognise the fact that exercise will improve performance at school and play.

Set times for homework, play and exercise.

Make exercise time a fun time. Join in! Play games, walk, take a trip to the park or play a sport.

Praise your child's efforts.

Parent alert!

As a parent, you can encourage, inspire, and equip your child's activity. Help the child by providing the sports gear, taking care of transportation, and above all, participating as a role model!

Break the exercise barrier

Barrier: Not enough time to exercise

Solution: Setting aside time to exercise can be a challenge. Planning is the key. For example, Monday through Friday, your kids can play with friends after school. Weekends are a good time for you to get involved, by taking the kids to the pool, or for a bike ride. Choose activities your children enjoy. Remember, anything that gets them moving counts as exercise. Rotate different activities, such as playing football, swimming, cycling, and in the case of smaller children, taking them to the park to try out the swings, the slides and the jungle gym.

The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 7:01:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/whats-your-childs-fitness-personality/article1980975.ece

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