Your Fit Child

For those with children, their health, diet, height, weight et al is a constant worry. She does not eat fruits, or she only lives on bread or potato is a common refrain. Worrying about nutrition is extremely important for your child because all health first starts with what you eat. Ensuring that your child is getting the Vitamins and Minerals in addition to good quality protein, fats and carbs is essential. If you are already a parent you would know that is almost impossible as children have a mind of their own from age two and making them eat what you want is almost impossible. Supplementing Vitamins and Minerals is therefore helpful.

In the mean time, it is probably far easier to channel the boundless energy they have into activities and therefore it is useful to understand what they need. To start, obviously they need to develop motor skills. Running, walking, jumping, are great tools to help them develop their motor skills. A really good friend has started a gym for children and as a guest speaker, I was amazed to see the difference it was having on the motor skills of children who had not even turned one. The next thing to worry about is flexibility. Young children are incredibly flexible. Increasingly their muscles get stiff unless you stretch. Yoga or other similar exercises are useful to retain the flexibility in their bodies. You want them to create aerobic capacity which can range from running long distances to swimming, cycling or even playing a sport like tennis. This build the capacity of their lungs, their ability to take in more oxygen and also their endurance. If they can eat adequately during this period of aerobic exercise it does wonders to their fitness levels.

As they grow a little bit and start to head into their teens they need to build strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger, legendary body builder believes that children prior to their pre-teens should not engage in strenuous body building or weight training as their bones are still soft. In his opinion, training with weights should start when your child is about fourteen.  Prior to that, its fine to train the body using your own body weight for example doing sit ups or push ups. This will build muscle without hurting the bones. Once they are into their teens, if you can encourage them to also work on building muscle strength it will pay them rich dividends later on in life. Some people believe that teaching your child martial arts early in life is useful especially as it hardens the bone, teaches focus and discipline. This is a personal choice, and I tend to believe that some form of martial arts training is useful.

Finally, teaching them breathing, is vital to ensuring they get sufficient oxygen into their body. The aerobic exercises and strength training does the same thing, but just sitting and breathing brings a calm to the mind which is extra-ordinary.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.