Importance of exercise for kids under 5

We all know that physical activity is important for young children for their whole development, building their confidence, strength and improving balance. Being active is what kids are born to do! Find out more about the importance of exercise for preschool kids.
We all know that physical activity is important for young children. Being active is what kids are born to do!

Even from birth, movement is essential for brain development. Babies make sense of their world through sensory exploration, play and learning to move.

Tummy time, rolling and crawling are really important for them, even at such an early stage in their life.

For toddlers and preschoolers, play helps contribute to their cognitive, physical, social and emotional wellbeing.

As children learn to control their bodies and become more active, then climbing, running, jumping, catching and throwing become a significant part of their lives, as does taking part in dance classes, swimming lessons and other organised sports.

Energetic activities are important to their whole development, building their confidence, strength and improving balance.

Whilst there are currently no specific exercise guidelines for preschoolers in New Zealand, guidelines introduced in the UK suggest that children under 5 should exercise and be active for more than 3 hours throughout the day to prevent obesity.

New research from the US suggests too that short bursts of activity throughout the day is the best approach to helping little ones stay fit and healthy.

The study by Vanderbilt University in Nashville showed preschool children need to be active pretty much their whole waking day to achieve their recommended level of daily physical activity.

The study also showed that boys and girls are as active as each other, but girls have more bursts of super short activity while boys will be active for longer. Either way, activity throughout the day all adds up!

Although it doesn’t currently recommend a specific number of minutes for daily exercise for babies through to preschoolers, the NZ Ministry of Health believes parents should encourage all children to be active from birth.

Links between obesity and exercise are widespread so it’s importance for parents to encourage children to be active from birth.

Find out more about sports classes and other activity classes near you for kids under 5 years old.

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