At Children’s IKEA, we want to inspire to an active everyday – with more room for jumping, running, fun and games. Because the fact is, studies show that physical activity both plays a big role in children’s well-being and is an investment in the future.
Maria Ekblom, Associate Professor at Swedish School of Sports and Health Sciences, researches how physical activity affects children.
“We know for sure that the right amount of movement has a positive effect on children’s physical condition, muscle strength, cardiovascular health as well as blood pressure and blood sugar.”
The whole body likes to move
“Studies have shown that movement enhances the mental well-being and is positive for certain cognitive functions. Furthermore, the amount of physical activity we get as children also affects our habits and health later in life.
So, what is the right amount of movement? The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children between ages 5 and 17 should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. In addition, a couple of times a week, it’s good to do more high-intensity training that increases the heart rate for a longer period of time.
Find the pulse in the everyday life
Maria has tips on how to find the time and energy for regular exercise in everyday life. “If it’s possible, walking or riding a bike to and from school is a great opportunity for everyday exercise. Just like meeting friends and playing outside in a safe environment.”
Younger children often have a natural appetite for physical activity, but they might need some encouragement to get going when they get older, says Maria.
“I think it’s important to give children the opportunity to do sports or other activities that are age-appropriate and match their interests. Then, if they really like what they’re doing, it’s easier to make it a good habit that lasts.”
Moving develops the entire body
Children around the world love to jump and do somersaults, completely unaware that they are training their motor skills at the same time. Going through an obstacle course, playing with a ball or even crawling through a narrow tunnel helps develop the child's sensory system, especially their coordination and balance. Moving is important for both children and adults so that we feel good – for our entire lives.