How To Keep Children Healthy and Active During COVID-19 Lockdown
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country, people, especially children have been asked to stay at home. All parks, stadiums, gardens, and fitness centers, where one can go to stay fit, have been closed across the country in order to curtail the spread of the virus.
Staying at home for prolonged periods without any physical activity can cause a significant challenge to both body and mind as an inactive lifestyle and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on the health. These are challenging times for children.
It is very well known that physical activities are very important to help people remain calm and stay healthy.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a person should do about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week or a combination of both.
Here’s a WHO-recommended guideline to keep children physically active.
Children under the age of 1
Need to be active physically many times a day.
- Children under the age of 5
Need to spend 3 hours daily in physical activities. Children about 3-4 years old should be vigorously active for one hour each day.
- Children aged 5-17 years
Should do at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise including activities to strengthen muscle and bone, at least three times in a week.
Any physical activity is better than not doing any. Look for age or location-specific activities on the internet and start doing those activities right now. These videos are available for free.
Follow these rules:
If your child has a fever or cough or difficulty in breathing, do not allow him to do any exercise. Do not do any self-medication.
- If your child can’t step out of the house due to restrictions, check for what is the best activity he/she can do at home. Any activity can be helpful- sweeping, mopping, dusting, walking to the nearest grocery or medical store, walking up and down the staircase of the building- all these activities can help your child stay fit.
- If your apartment complex or the neighborhood allows your child to cycle or play a game or two, please allow your child to take part in these activities. Ensure your child washes hands every time he/she steps out and in with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Due to social distancing norms, your child may not be able to meet his friends or cousins to play. In that case, ensure you play with your child. It could be anything—badminton outside your home or walking in front of your house.
- Teach your child some breathing exercises. The breathing exercise should be for a minimum of at least 10 minutes.
You must carefully choose the physical activities for your child to reduce the risk of injury and also to ensure that your child enjoys the activities. Choose the right activity based on the child’s age and interest.
Remaining physically active during the COVID-19 lockdown is challenging for all of us and more so for children. As the opportunities to stay active are limited, it becomes all the more important to plan all the activities. The internet is the best resource for finding age-specific activities for your child. Children must sit less and move more.