5 Fun Sports Your Child Should Engage in to Keep Them Active

Uju Odinma Oniawa

Back in the days, children would return home from school, change into their play clothes, and run outside to play until the sun sets and it was some sort of sports and fun. Nowadays, almost every spare time is spent before television sets and computer games. This promotes a sedentary lifestyle which contributes to obesity and juvenile diabetes.

Parent must therefore encourage their children to engage in lots of outdoor activities regularly to help them get some exercise in. This aids getting lots of fresh oxygen while boosting their mental and physical health.

Depending on your child’s flair, find 5 fun sports you should encourage them to participate in…

1. Soccer. Children as young as four years old can participate, though with a smaller ball and on a smaller field than older children. Its fast pace allows it to hold the attention of children who would frequently get bored playing other sports. It boosts muscle strength, flexibility, coordination and cardiovascular endurance while helping with weight control. In addition, when kids play games like football, they learn sportsmanship, cooperation, team spirit, tolerance and patience.

2. Cycling. Learning how to ride a bike is one experience most children hardly forget. Cycling can be so much fun and a great form of exercise, even for adults. Kids can start on a plastic, three-wheel (tricycle) from as little as two years old. You can then introduce to two-wheeler with training wheels around the age of 5. When your child has mastered that, the training wheels can come off within several months.

Note however that children below 8 shouldn’t be riding on the streets by themselves. Instead, they should ride on a field, driveway or through a park.

Cycling helps strengthen the leg muscles, aids weight control, boosts self esteem, helps with coordination and balance, and improves cardiovascular fitness.

READ ALSO: Children Involved In Sports Activities Are Better Academically – Study

3. Swimming. Did you know that the fear of water can be life threatening? It’s a good idea to introduce your children to water and pools early in life. Teaching children how to swim from an early age is proven to have many benefits, including strengthening the heart and lungs. It is also said that children who swim get a boost in intelligence as the movements made during the activity stimulates the edge nerves of the brain. Start short swimming lessons using a small pool from as early as when they are still babies and progress to a big pool. Never leave children in the pool unsupervised.

If you are taking young children swimming, make sure that you all use the showers before going into the pool. Young children will benefit from flotation devices as this will keep them afloat while they gain confidence in the water.

READ ALSO: 8 Amazing Reasons Your Child Should Participate in Sports

4. Gymnastics. This is so much fun and provides all children with great exercise. Gymnastic classes are offered for children of all ages, beginning with toddlers. As they get older, they can engage in activities to enhance their skills.

If the child shows great promise, you may consider hiring a professional coach to take your child’s ability to the next level.

Besides enhancing physical fitness, participation in gymnastics boosts your child’s confidence and promotes self esteem.

5. Walking. It may sound boring to some, but walking is one of the best forms of exercise children can get. It’s especially helpful for children who don’t enjoy extreme physical exertion or competitive games. From a peaceful strolls in the neighbourhood to walks with mum and dad in the park, children as young as 2 can see their immediate environment, appreciate nature and stay in good shape.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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