World of back health
Playing keeps children's backs healthy!
It's a D minus for "Physical activity"! This is the grade awarded by the international movement certification for German children and young people and it is not without health consequences. It is extremely important to motivate the little ones to be more active and to do so in a playful and everyday way.
"Mom, Dad, my back hurts!" When this phrase is uttered at home parents usually, instinctively promote rest. In some instances, this may make sense but mostly the exact opposite would do our children good, that is them becoming active through play and sport. If children are sufficiently active this strengthens them holistically, their muscles, bones and their immune system. Exercise also promotes the formation of nerve cells in the brain, having a positive effect on mental performance. By contrast, "immobile" children are more likely to suffer from obesity and poor posture. Even the youngest children can suffer back problems. After headaches and stomach aches, children complain most frequently about back pain. In addition to sufficient exercise, other factors can counteract this including, a back friendly everyday life for children. Parents who pay attention to ergonomic baby mattresses, shoes and school bags from an early age help to support children's physiological requirements and thus lay an important foundation for a healthy back.
A child's world is changing
Do activities play an important role in everyday life? Is it true that children are getting lazier and lazier? They are born with a natural urge to move, aren't they? Setting the baby bouncer in motion and crawling around the world is a matter of course for the little ones. The foundation for a life with movement is already laid by kindergarten age.
Active gaming instead of online gaming
It is a fact that our world is becoming increasingly digital and children are following suit. The advantages of global networking and rapid knowledge transfer have a downside. The use of digital media increases from an early age and that brings risks with it. "The frequent use of screen devices poses a major potential risk to healthy development processes as a whole. The more time children and young people spend in front of screens, the less time they have for development-promoting physical activity," warns sports scientist Dr. Dieter Breithecker. The necessary daily amount of activity is not met. The World Health Organization sets clear guidelines in this regard: A child should get at least one hour of exercise a day whether it's sport, running around or playing. However, only around 20 percent of children worldwide realise this target.
"Movement is the motor for children's development and the indispensable prerequisite for their physical and mental health."
Dr. Dieter Breithecker
Sports and exercise scientist, expert in relationship/behavioral prevention, health maintenance, ergonomics and space
Encouragement begins with leading by example
When it comes to behaviour patterns ‘the apple doesn't fall far from the tree’. Children adopt many things from their family environment and therein lies an important opportunity. Parents can set the example for their children, showing what it means to lead a healthy, active life. It starts with the little things: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking as much as possible or simply being out and about together. These are all important building blocks for an active life that every child should internalize. Giving them a sporting hobby at an early age is also beneficial. The following applies: Try and see if it’s fun! There are usually trial sessions in every club. More important than sport, says Dr. Breithecker: "are basic motor activities such as jumping, climbing, balancing, running and romping in general." The sports scientist combines this fact with an appeal to parents:
"It's important that we give the children the freedom to do this." Incidentally, this is not only relevant for physical development but also for mental and social-emotional skills, which are built up through a variety of play and movement activities.
It's good for children's backs!
∗ Offer and promote sporting activities (e.g. in a club)
∗ Create space for romping and exploring
∗ Cover distances on foot or by bike wherever possible
∗ Avoid frequent and prolonged sitting, ensure more frequent changes of position
∗ Reflect on and limit media consumption, spend as much time outdoors as possible
∗ Pay attention to the use of back friendly products
Actively shaping living spaces and everyday school life
True to the motto ‘every movement counts’, parents should make sure that their children sit as little as possible. Sitting is seen as a "brake on development" and is a problem that becomes significantly worse when children start school. "Excessive strain, such as sitting for hours on end, should be avoided as a matter of urgency.
When children sit, they should do so on seating that offers multi-dimensional mobility as a function. The intrinsic urge to move can then also develop while sitting," recommends Dr. Breithecker. It is also important to create other incentives. At school, these can be mobile standing desks or standing islands. Sometimes it helps children to sit on the floor for a short time to change their posture. Children need exercise and it is important that we support their natural urge to do so whenever possible. "Movement is the motor for children's development and the indispensable prerequisite for their physical and mental health" summarizes Dr. Breithecker. So it's a good sign when children plop into bed in the evening tired from running around and playing - their backs deserve a rest too.