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Health Matters

Components of Your Child's Overall Physical Health

March 1st, 2013

By: Krystal Kromm

There are five main components to your child's overall physical health and each component is made healthier with different activities.

The first component is muscular strength, which, in simple terms, is how strong your child is. Children do not get large muscles (testosterone, which they lack, is needed for that). When children exercise they increase their strength by increasing the number of muscle fibers recruited to lift an object. They become more efficient and gain more control over their bodies. *Do not have children lift heavy weights, but rather, very light weights or just their own body weight. Examples of how to improve muscular strength are: push-ups, sit ups and squats.

Muscular endurance is similar to muscle strength.  Muscle endurance, though, is the ability to have the same muscle group repeat the same activity over and over again, or for an extended period of time. Examples would include allowing your child to help carry groceries to the house or raking the yard. 

 

Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart, lungs and blood vessels to work together to keep enough oxygen coming into the cells of the body. The more oxygen the body can get to the working cells the longer they can continue exercising. There are many physical benefits of having a healthy cardiovascular system such as the heart not having to work as hard at rest or when exercising. Cardiovascular fitness can be improved with many favourite childhood activities such as playing tag and soccer.

Flexibility is defined as the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion. Babies are born with great flexibility and it slowly declines as they age unless it is used. Stretching can increase flexibility, just be sure that no pain is felt, only a mild tension.  Hold all the stretches for 30-60 seconds. Kids love to try and do the splits and that is a great way to increase flexibility.

Body composition refers to the different components that make up the body such as muscle, connective tissue, water, fat, bones etc. There needs to be a healthy balance between all these components, which is achieved with proper nutrition, and exercise. There are risks such as diabetes and heart disease that will correlate to unhealthy body compositions such as having too much fat.  

TEXT BOX:

Being active for at least 60 minutes daily can help children:

Improve their health

Feel happier

Improve their self-confidence

Perform better in school

Improve their fitness

Grow stronger

Learn new skills

Maintain a healthy body weight

Burn off 'extra' energy

Meet friends

 

Krystal Kromm is a Fitness Specialist at City Motion. For more information, visit www.citymotion.ca.

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