Physical activity for children
The Wiggles’ songs and dances are full of energy and movement and encourage children to engage in physical activity and exercise. When young children sing and dance they are exercising their bodies while having fun.
Whether they are flitting like butterflies, pointing their fingers and doing the twist or dancing with Dorothy the Dinosaur they are engaged in physical activities suited to their age and level of development. Child physical activity is one of the most enjoyable ways for children to participate in good health practices.
Medibank and The Wiggles recognise that early childhood is the ideal time to establish good habits so children will seek and enjoy physical activity instead of avoiding it. Children’s physical activity contributes to a range of health benefits, experiences and challenges. Children’s physical activity has a positive impact on their physical development and also on their cognitive (intellectual) development and social/emotional development.
Children have plenty of natural energy and need lots of opportunities to move, play and participate in children’s physical activities. They need to be provided with safe and suitable opportunities for active play both indoor and outdoor so a positive relationship can be forged between children’s enjoyment of physical activity and their own unique abilities.
In the longer term, regular participation in child physical activity can assist with:
- weight management
- maintenance of healthy bones, muscles and joints
- increased efficiency of the heart and lungs
- preventing and controlling anxiety and depression
- combating chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol and some cancers.
Combined with healthy eating, child physical activity can help to decrease the risk of childhood obesity. Active participation in children’s physical activity and exercise is a major preventative of weight issues. Almost a quarter of children in Australia are overweight or obese. Obesity in children is a major concern, not only due to short–term health and social problems, but also because of the high risk it will continue into adulthood bringing with it an increased risk of chronic diseases.
The relationship between child physical activity and mental function has been mentioned. Children who have been physically active show improved concentration and awareness during the day and sleep better at night.
Children’s physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormones, which results in happier children. If children develop a confidence in their own physical abilities they not only feel good about themselves, they are also more able to enjoy physical activities with their peers.
A healthy attitude towards life includes engaging in the fun and participation of healthy lifestyles through exercise. Physical activity is one of the most important features of a child’s development.