Pathologies derived from a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional habits, such as obesity, are on the rise. In childhood, obesity can cause diseases such as high blood pressure or type II diabetes, which, in turn, are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. To avoid this, the child must play sports, which will help him achieve a balanced development.
Benefits of sports practice
- Collaborates in maintaining the ideal weight and prevents obesity.
- Lower blood pressure figures.
- Prevents glucose elevations and reduces insulin needs in diabetics.
- It raises the level of good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers triglycerides.
- Improves agility, enhances reflexes, increases speed and strengthens endurance.
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- By increasing white blood cells in circulation, it defends the body from the development of cancer cells and infections caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites.
- Reduces anxiety and depression, and increases self-esteem.
- It can prevent children and adolescents from starting to smoke.
- It teaches to accept the rules, value fellowship, integrate and assume responsibilities.
- Decreases the tendency to develop aggressive attitudes.
- Stimulates academic performance.
- It helps to become aware of the body and its care.
What is the ideal exercise?
Basically aerobics that increase resistance, improve muscle strength and flexibility, and that do not involve musculoskeletal overload to avoid problems in development. We detail the activities according to age:
Up to 8 years old . Games, psychomotricity exercises, coordination and balance, exercises for the sense of rhythm and space. March, jump, climb, dance.
From 8 to 12 years old . Exercises that contribute to general growth and development, increasing daily activities, and developing the main physical qualities (resistance, strength and flexibility). This period is very good to learn the technique of different sports.
Between 12 and 14 years old . Increase the training of the technique of each sports movement and start some type of competition that maintains motivation throughout the game.
From the age of 14 . More specialized training should be started, increasing the volumes of load and training in general.
How long should it be done?
An investigation led by Dr. John Reilly, a professor at the University of Glasgow and a doctor at Yorkhill Hospital (United Kingdom), concluded that daily sessions of at least 60 minutes are the most recommended.
Tips and precautions
- Before starting any sports practice, a medical examination is recommended to assess the condition of the child or adolescent.
- If the child or adolescent is involved in a competitive sport, the medical review must be annual and carried out by specialists in sports medicine.
- Sports that require excessive use of physical force should be excluded.
- The exercise should always start in a moderate way, to intensify little by little.
- They must be hydrated before, during and after sports practice.
- Changes in attitude to routine physical activity (more fatigue, increased dyspnea or any abnormality) should be consulted with the doctor.
- Long-distance running before maturity is discouraged.
- The obese must carry out a specific training plan before integrating them into competitive sports.
- Tall adolescents should perform competitive sports that are not too demanding to attend to their harmonic muscular development.
How to motivate them to practice sports?
The team of researchers from the University of Michigan (USA), led by the physiologist Audrey Hazekamp, offers the following recommendations in this regard:
- Find activities that the child likes and exercises related to them.
- That does not seem something programmed but games and fun activities.
- Plan family activities that include physical activity as a central element: skating, dancing, bike rides, walking routes.
Contraindications of sports practice
Renal, hepatic, pulmonary, adrenal and cardiac insufficiency; acute infectious diseases while they last; chronic infectious diseases; uncontrolled metabolic diseases; organic-based arterial hypertension; inflammations of the musculoskeletal system; diseases that cause asthenia or muscle fatigue and those that disturb balance or cause dizziness.
- Regarding the type of sport: stunted growth and maturation; hemorrhagic diseases; abdominal hernias; history of head trauma or surgery on the head and spine; uncontrolled seizure disease; organomegaly; absence of a paired organ.
- Regarding the environment:
In the water: skin diseases, otitis, sinusitis and acute conjunctivitis.
In hot environments: cystic fibrosis, hypohydration secondary to vomiting or diarrhoea, alterations in acclimatization to heat and significant obesity.
In cold and dry environments: asthma.