My 4-year-old girl has perfected the cat posture, butterfly posture and even the ironman workout which makes me feel proud as a mother! For those who find these terms to be Greek and Latin maybe you are far behind in the race to exercise for good health and you need to pay attention immediately! There is no denial that parents are a child’s first role model and I take pride in telling that I am the role model for my child when it comes to exercise and health. Read more about how parent’s influence their child’s development and personality by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. Children spend time in structured and unstructured play time reaping different benefits from each. I, as a parent, spend time with my little one playing with blocks, board games, helping her draw/paint and above all, doing exercise together. It all started with my efforts to lose post-pregnancy weight where I had no choice but to exercise with my little one around in the house. Maybe, it was her exposure to physical activity at such a tender age and my regular practice that motivated her to indulge in physical activity day in and day out apart from playing with kids in the playground. Now, I am indeed even happier when I read somewhere that physical activity in early childhood has an impact on cardiovascular health later in life according to a new study.
Helping Tiny Tots to Move & Groove to Exercise Beats
The study, published in the Pediatrics journal involved more than 400 kids aged between three and five for a period of three years who were monitored for key markers of heart health including arterial stiffness, cardiovascular fitness and blood pressure. Cardiovascular fitness was measured by noting how long the kids could survive the treadmill test and how fast their heart rates recovered after exercise; arterial stiffness was measured by observing how fast the pulse traveled through the body and researchers used ultrasound imaging to measure stiffness of the carotid artery; and blood pressure measurements were also noted. Physical activity was measured by making these kids wear accelerometers for a week around their waist which enabled the researchers to measure the amount and intensity of activity every day.
While it is a general misconception that cardiovascular disease is only monopolized by the old it is essential to know that arteries begin to stiffen when we are young. This research proved that while arterial stiffness is inevitable the process is actually slower in those kids who are more active. It was also these kids who displayed more endurance on the treadmill test and had their heart rates come down more faster showing that they had improved cardiovascular fitness. Hence, vigorous activity was more beneficial for heart health. While the results were same for both boys and girls involved in the study, the research showed that physical activity had a positive effect on blood pressure in the case of girl children only. The study also proves that intensity of activity does matter indeed in reaping the benefits of your hard work! Kids who play hard panting and going out of breath benefit the most. There is no rule that all the physical activity happens at one shot in these young tots. It can be dispersed throughout the day helping them stay active.
While the study only emphasizes the fact that physical activity benefits cardiovascular health it does promote and insist that it can have protective effects right from a very early age. But it still is a mystery whether these advantages carry forward into the kid’s life as adolescents and adults too! We all feel proud when someone says the kid resembles the mother’s features or the father’s personality. Let’s start to live a lifestyle such that we feel proud of nurturing our children with the benefits of good health, well-being and happiness that we can feel proud about anytime in life.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.