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How often do we hear adults comment on how they can’t keep up with the boundless
energy of children? Little ones are so active. A picture of perfect health.
Surely, they don’t need to worry about diseases yet. And, why worry about what
they eat now as long as a healthier diet is adopted later in childhood?
The sad truth is that many devastating illnesses are now known to have their
roots in early childhood. Diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and a
myriad of problems stemming from obesity. The habits that lead to each of these
are laid down early, during the preschool years. Experts agree, to reverse the
above trends, efforts need to be put forth during the formative years. Before
children leave Kindergarten, as young as age two.
There are critical times for learning language, music and many skills. Physical
skill development needs to be integrated at a young age too. Look at people who
never learned how to bounce a ball or use a tennis racket. Sure, they can learn
the skills as adults but not with the mastery or level of expertise and flow
that comes from being taught the movements when young. When deprived of the
ability to become competent at movement, children grow up to be adults with an
aversion to sports and fitness. In today’s world we undoubtedly must try harder
to guide adults into active lifestyles, not away from them.
Children need to learn early that exercise is fun. That healthy eating makes
sense. And that doing these things helps us take care of our bodies. Children
taught physical education from a young age learn other things better too. All
academic subjects can be enhanced through a regular fitness program for
preschoolers. The social benefits help children deal with aggression and anger.
And, kids are just better off all the way around – fewer colds, better immune
function, greater self-esteem, they become more productive, more creative, less
depressed, the list goes on.
Fitness professionals and health educators have an obligation to help this needy
segment of the population. It’s a group that can not speak for themselves. By
the time they’re ready to plead for help, it will be years from now. As health
professionals we all need to take a serious look at why we’re in this business.
If we’re in it to really help people and to change the lives of our future
generation, we need to start at the beginning. From the time children take
their first steps. Think about what you can do to help a young life start out
on the right foot. Find a way to instill healthy habits into little ones – you
won’t be sorry.
Readers can view a free different preschool (ages 2-K) P.E. activity each month
and a free quarterly newsletter here:
About the Author:
Michele Silence, M.A. is a 22-year fitness professional, trainer, educator and
freelance writer. She is the owner of Aerobic Fitness Consultants, and the
creator of KID-FIT, physical education classes for preschoolers. KID-FIT has
been piloted nationwide, featured in the L.A. Times, on numerous television news
shows and is currently listed by ‘Action For Healthy Kids’ as a program that
works. Contact Michele at (626) 359-8535 or http://www.kid-fit.com .
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