Physical activity classes and gyms cater to the needs of adults everywhere. In our quest for personal fitness and exercise programs, our children’s physical exercise and activity levels are nowhere in our itinerary. Neither schools offer physical education classes compulsorily nor do our space-restricted apartment offer opportunities to kids to play outdoor at ease.
Keeping in mind all these barriers, lets look into some of the afterschool physical activity program options for youth:
Awareness of the fitness world
Ability, confidence and desire are the result of encouraging and engaging physical activity experiences that are diverse, fun, appropriate and safe. Providing children with the opportunity for unrestricted movement, activity and interplay which is termed as ’free play’ can gift children these experiences, especially the younger ones. Free play also offers kids a host of other benefits such as the ability of children to make their own decisions and regulate their behavior while interacting with friends. This is an opportunity for kids to learn about themselves and the world around them along with the benefits of playing outside.
Youth fitness programs must comprise of exercises, activities and training schedules that are suitable for the health, fitness, ages and skill-levels of participants. The exercise environment should be monitored on a daily basis to keep it hazard-free and available for group activities and games. Exercise equipment should be well-maintained and in proper working condition to enable smooth functioning of the equipment. Any equipment that does not work properly must be repaired or replaced.
Quality coaching is mandatory for youths participating in recreational activities and leagues, even more for youths who are inactive and lack basic skills of running, throwing, catching, kicking, balancing, twisting and jumping. Without such motivation and training, inactive youths are sure to grow up into inactive adults who may also suffer from overweight/obesity due to unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Youths interested in changing their lifestyle for the better can get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Youths enjoy a fitness program that is fun-filled and focuses on skill, strength, balance and flexibility. Instead of engaging youth in a specific activity right from the beginning, an important factor for fun is variety or sampling of different activities. While early specialization might lead to overuse injuries due to repetitive motions, early sampling can provide them with a chance to develop motor skills due to their involvement in various activities.
Ensuring youth participation in physical activity programs that build physical literacy is good for them and for the future health of the country too.