Fostering an Active Childhood for an Active Future
As of 2019, 1 in 4 Australian children aged 2-17 were considered overweight or obese. The World Obesity Federation predicts that up to 250 million children worldwide will be obese by 2030, which is a massive jump from recent data of 150 million obese or overweight. There are many reasons as to why this is steadily increasing and although important, this article does not aim to address such issues. Rather, explore the benefits of creating a starting point and building a strong foundation for continued physical activity into adulthood.
It is no surprise that physical activity has noted tangible benefits for children. Such benefits include improved motor patterning, cognitive development, healthy body weight, social skills, self-confidence, and attention within school. A more recent view has considered the concept of physical literacy. This term is defined as “… the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”, which basically means recognising how and when to move your body, why you should, as well the social skills to be active with others.
In order to assist development of physical literacy, it is imperative that we consciously reflect on the benefits for engaging in movement. These may include observations of skill improvements, positive experiences, and connection to people and place. Failing to realise noted benefits may not reinforce and reward participation from physical activity, lessening the likelihood of continued physical activity and movement into adulthood.
The development of physical literacy is not just relevant to children but also elite athletes. A holistic approach to exercise from an early age is needed in order to create a well-rounded athlete that can successfully overcome barriers in their career. Some examples include the internal motivation to overcome injury for the first time; the self-awareness as to why training may need to be altered due to injury; and developing social skills for strong relationships and awareness away from the physical performance sense. Promoting physical literacy from a young age has the potential to be carried through for life and is important to ensure an active adulthood.
Creating an exercise environment that is enjoyable or fun can help promote physical literacy. At START Training, that is a major consideration when programming for children and our highly qualified exercise professionals are well adept in this area. Feel free to check out our social media outlets or call the clinic on 3356 9119 for more information!
Written By Loxlee Blacket – AEP