Physical Activity and the Early Years
Recently released information from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and ParticipACTION tells us that children aged four and under should move more and sit less every day. Although children in the early years are assumed to be naturally busy and active, they spend 73 to 84 per cent of their waking hours being sedentary.
"Regular physical activity is essential at a young age as it contributes to bone and skeletal health, motor skill development, psychosocial health, cognitive development and healthy body weights," says Dr. Mark Tremblay, Director CHEO-HALO. " It is also key to avoid the harms associated with excessive sedentary behaviour, in particular the negative effects of screen time exposure, in the earliest years of development. Lifestyle patterns set in the early years predict health outcomes later in life."
For healthy growth and development, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years recommend the following:
• Children under the age of one should be physically active several times daily, particularly through interactive, floor-based play. This should include supervised indoor and outdoor experiences such as tummy time, reaching and grasping, pushing and pulling, and crawling. Sedentary activities to limit are sitting for long periods of time in a stroller, high chair or car seat, and watching television.
• Children aged one to four should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day. This should include a variety of activities in different environments where children can develop movement skills, such as climbing stairs, crawling, playing outside and exploring the environment, brisk walking, running or dancing. Screen time, which includes TV, and playing with non-active electronic devices like video games and computers, should be limited.
Minimizing sedentary behavior, including screen time during waking hours is just as important as being physically active. Screen time is not recommended for children under the age of two and should be limited to less than one hour per day for children aged two to four. For more information on the guidelines visit www.csep.ca/guidelines and participACTION.com.
With summers arrival it's time to get outdoors and enjoy the good weather. Walk, run and play safely indoors and out to promote healthy and active living for our kids. Have a great summer!
The vision of the Prince Albert Early Childhood Council is that all children in Prince Albert and area enjoy a good start in life. Many area Community Schools are members of the Early Childhood Council.
Community school's PreK programs and parenting support programs are helping families support the early years. Contact your neighborhood school for Pre K information for the fall for 3 and 4 year olds. For information on the Early Childhood Council call Donna at 763-0760.
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