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Get Ahead Kids® Feature Article
Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 6, No. 2 - March/April 2014

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Finding Physical Activities that Kids Enjoy

By Alan Stevens

We all know that families need exercise and physical activity to balance a healthy lifestyle. Without it, parents and kids become prone to many physical and emotional ailments - depression, obesity and diabetes, to name just a few.

Stress has a negative effect on a family's physical and mental health. Sport and hobbies go a long way to reversing those bad effects.

How often though do you commence an activity only to drop it shortly after starting?

Have you ever taken up a particular exercise regime or sport because someone close says said you should take it up, or because it's been advertised heavily in the media as the new beaut program guaranteed to change your life?

And then a short time into the activity you lose interest or finally say "well this just isn't for me".

Even when others are benefiting from the same activity you gave up, it can only mean that you didn't enjoy the particular activity.

Children are very different in their physical activity preferences. When sports day comes around, some can't wait to go to school while others are looking for excuses to stay home. If the particular physical activity doesn't interest them, then it's likely to become a stress creator for children and counterproductive to their emotional and physical health.

Some children thrive on competitive sports while others are more selective, or prefer exercise where they only compete against their own previous performance. Some love fast action while others prefer to stay longer with activities that have an analytical component.

These issues can be easily addressed by finding activities that fit each child's personality type.

For example; a person whose legs are short-medium in comparison to their overall height tend to excel at sports that contain a lot of ballistic movements. They have a low centre of gravity that gives them an advantage when it comes to sharp, short bursts and quick direction changes such as those found in court games.

Sports they are likely to enjoy include:

  • Sprinting
  • Tennis
  • Hiking, rock climbing & mountaineering
  • Gymnastics
  • Latin dancing
  • All codes of football

Any sports where they are on their feet for long periods of time
Those with longer legs for their height are more attuned to graceful and controlled movements, including:

  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Golf
  • Ballroom dancing
  • High jump & pole vaulting
  • Ice skating
  • Yoga

Those with a sequential thinking style like activities that are structured, and may excel at gymnastics because of the regimented order their moves must take.

Those who have a more objective thinking style enjoy physical activities that are far less predictable, and require variety in their execution.

Understanding the many different traits and how to recognise them will assist you to help your child find the physical activity that they enjoy, and from which they find the best outcomes. At the end of the day, your child can only get the best physical and emotional outcomes from the sports and hobbies that they enjoy.

About Alan Stevens

Alan Stevens, the Face Profiler, is a coach and trainer in the Art of Reading People, based in Newcastle NSW. He has developed Social Emotional Learning programs for school teachers and corporations including programs to recognise what other people are not telling you, what they are concealing, and how they are likely to behave in any situation. His programs are delivered locally in schools and businesses and internationally through the internet. He was described by the Newcastle Herald as "The Mentalist meets Dr. Phil meets Dr. Cal Lightman from Lie To Me", and his passion is to share these skills throughout the community. To find out how other people see you and how to recognise what makes other people tick, contact Alan now.

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