More Australian children are dancing and engaging in martial arts – but less are playing netball and tennis – according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
“Between 2003 and 2012, children’s participation has increased by 27 per cent for dancing.”
“Contributing to the increasing popularity of dancing was a rise in participation among children aged five to eight years, with participation increasing from 27 per cent to 32 per cent for girls
Television shows had made dancing a more acceptable choice for boys, who mostly favour hip hop and funk dance while girls choose contemporary and more recent styles over classical ballet.
Kids love to be active. Making physical activity a part of their daily routine is not only fun, but also healthy. Physical activity is important for healthy growth and development. It is also a great way for kids to make friends and learn physical and social skills.
Encouraging kids to be active when they are young also establishes a routine that could stay with them throughout their life.
If you are a parent or carer of a young child, the two points to remember are:
* Children need at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) of moderate to vigorous physical activity
* Children should not spend more than two hours a day using electronic media for entertainment (e.g. computer games,TV, Internet), particularly during daylight hours.
Why is physical activity important?
Children between 5 and 12 years of age greatly benefit from being physically active. It can:
* Promote healthy growth and development.
* Build strong bones and muscles.
* Improve balance and develop skills.
* Maintain and develop flexibility.
* Help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
* Improve cardiovascular fitness.
* Help relaxation.
* Improve posture.
* Provide opportunities to make friends.
* Improve self-esteem.
How much is enough?
Kids need to do a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity every day. But remember, more is better – even up to several hours! This can be built up throughout the day with a combination of moderate to vigorous activities.
What type of activity is recommended?
More vigorous activities will make kids “huff and puff” like ballet, running and swimming laps.
Most importantly, kids need the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that are fun and suit their interests, skills and abilities.
Variety will also offer your child a range of health benefits, experiences and challenges. Remember, any activity that sees your child expend energy is good!
What about skill learning? Kids gain valuable experience and can learn skills such as running, throwing, jumping, catching and kicking, by participating in a variety of physical activities.