“Today’s kids are lazy”. This oft heard phrase is common among parents, grandparents, and generally anybody old enough to remember being told to go play outside. You can look around and see that children, and their adult counterparts, are glued to screens. Phones, tablets, TV’s, computers, laptops, or the new virtual reality sets. Even google tried to make a screen you could wear.
Is it really that bad? Technology boosts our standard of living and makes life more comfortable, this is undeniable. Do we sacrifice our bodies for the sake of using the latest technology? What about our kids? Childhood obesity has skyrocketed, not entirely due to lack of exercise, but it has had an effect. Our society has started to feed kids junk and let them sit and do nothing, that is how we get lazy children without the drive to do anything and without the health to accomplish anything of note.
Now I hear what you are saying, you don’t need to be physically fit to accomplish something of note. This is true but newly published studies coming out are starting to show a definitive link between increased physical activity and brain development. If physical activity improves brain function, why not encourage it?
I am not saying that your kids need to be outside doing wind sprints or gearing up for football. If they are less inclined to play sports then get them in nature. Are they interested in biology, astronomy, meteorology, botany, or hiking? these are all things that can get children outside and move. Want something a bit more fun? Go geocaching, hiking to interesting points, go to a park, make them play outside and use their imagination. As for the last one, you should get out there with them and play also. What better way to bond than to be outside in the sun and having a good time? Do you have one that is in love with the screen? Go hiking and take pictures, geocaching, play Pokemon Go, make them earn their screen time by getting up and moving.
Along with just getting them moving, try and make it outside. Most of what I suggested above is outdoor activities. This was on purpose. While rough-housing is fine, you should try and get outside as often as possible. You can save money this way by not having to run the AC or heater as much, and you get some fresh air and sunshine.
Physical activity is not just great for brain development but also great at strengthening the body and immune system. A good cardiovascular condition is a strong predictor of the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. With this, little children need lots of physical activity to develop gross and fine motor skills like grabbing, running, balancing, squatting among others. Let them run around barefoot if you are able. The feet are full of nerves and tell the brain so much about the world and how to adjust the foot as to avoid pain. This promotes good healthy feet and protects against getting bunions later in life. A weird subject I know but most shoes push the big toe towards the middle of the foot creating bunions. Not only is this painful but it effects balance as well.
It is important that even though our children might not need to be the strongest, fastest or most physically gifted person, they should still be physically fit so to be able to utilize the gifts they do have. Helping them cultivate their physical body will have a lasting impact, not only on their intellect but on their health for the remainder of their life.