Exercise for adults is essential for a healthier lifestyle but parents might find it hard to fathom that your toddler needs exercise also!
Serious consideration to exercise should be given by those parents who want a healthier and fitter child both physically and mentally.
Parents, not through any fault of their own, often believe that because their child is of toddler age exercise is not an important part of their development just yet.
Wrong! All children who are at an age where they can walk steadily and copy movements should partake in some form of simple easy exercise.
This can be walking regularly out in the backyard, jumping on the spot being held by mum, supervised chasing, climbing and throwing games.
One in five preschoolers are now either overweight or obese...
These games and exercises are critical in the development of balance, hand eye co-ordination, motor neuron and many other essential skills as well as strong muscles, lungs and heart.
A recent study by Growing Up In Australia found that more than 15 per cent of Australian preschoolers are overweight and 5.5 per cent are obese.
This along with the rocketing rates of childhood obesity in NSW, where one in five preschoolers are now either overweight or obese, has promoted the NSW government to implement compulsory exercise regimes of up to two hours every day in preschools.
Some of the exercises include star jumps, action-singing songs as well as catching, jumping and running.
Recent research also showed 89 per cent of children aged four to five spend more than two hours watching a screen every day.
While these figures are concerning, in general, most toddlers are quite active and this needs to be encouraged through physical activities such as the above and any other creative safe exercises you can think of.
In addition to a healthier child, exercise develops a critical bond between parent and toddler in the form of trust, security, acceptance and most importantly love.
This deep bond will also help your child associate exercise with fun and in turn can more often than not stay in the toddler's subconscious and put them in good stead for being a healthier teenager and eventually adult.
A further added benefit is that parents get a regular workout also which is great for those too busy to exercise.
So, the next time you and your toddler are having a play session make it a special one by including some fun exercises and enjoy the great health benefits it brings.
Author, journalist and Kung Fu black belt master Stiven Pucar has created the book Alphacise - a nifty book for toddlers that creates an exercise for each letter of the alphabet with a fun rhyme to match.