By Jodi Levine, BA, MS
We are all aware of the importance of physical activity in our lives. Inactivity has been proven to be an important factor leading to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and many other diseases. But still, kids are less active than they have ever been, and the obesity rates in children are soaring. Recent studies suggest one in five children is overweight.
It is much easier to help your child develop a healthy habit early than to try to break an unhealthy habit later on. Studies have shown that children who take part in quality preschool movement education programs early on, develop a foundation that leads to physical activity going forward.
A child who participates in a developmentally sound preschool gymnastics/ movement education program will be rewarded with many benefits. The motor skills introduced , worked on and improved in such classes will later be applied to any physical activity or sport.
These classes provide the opportunity for a child to engage in every type of movement without pressure or score keeping. Each child works toward their personal best while having tons of fun improving their balance, strength, flexibility, focus and coordination…..the foundation for all sports and physical activities.
When kids are having fun, and improving their motor skills, they are more likely to continue to engage in and seek out other physical activities. When a child feels confident, strong, flexible, balanced, and coordinated, there will be no struggle for them to continue moving. An early positive, non competitive experience that allows children to develop skills at their own pace will make them much more likely to continue to be active.
Of course, in addition to classes, there is no better role model for kids than active parents. Be sure that some of your time together is healthy active time… ride a bike, climb a hill, take a swim, jump rope, play hopscotch, have a game of tag, play freeze dance, create an obstacle course, or just walk the dog. An early start to fitness is a gift for a lifetime!
Jodi Rosenwasser Levine BA, MS, is the founder and owner of Jodi’s Gym and a leader and innovator off children’s fitness programs since 1982.