Why Physical Development Matters for Children
Physical development should be fun. Sometimes that gets mistaken for being unimportant – it gets cut from school budgets and is often overlooked as a critical element of every child's development.
The ancient ideal of a Sound Mind in a Sound Body (mens sana in corpere sano) got it right. According to study after study, physical development during childhood is vital for a wide range of reasons, including:
Developing Healthy Habits
More often than not, fit kids become fit adults and unfit kids become unfit adults. Health habits created in childhood tend to carry over into adulthood -- including our eating habits, our self-perception as an athlete or non-athlete, and our interest in being physically active and fit.
Physical Activity Improves Health
Conversely, inactivity can lead to a wide variety of health problems in children, including cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, diabetes, etc.
Reaching Full Physical Potential
Just as there are critical developmental stages for reaching full cognitive potential, there are also critical stages for developing physical skills. Seizing those windows of opportunity as they arise is essential for creating the solid foundation on which mastery of more complex physical and sport skills can be built as the child grows.
Building Skills for Life
Childhood is the key time for learning sport skills. While adults can certainly learn new skills and sports, they are unlikely to become as competent in a given sport as they would have been if they had built a skill foundation for it in childhood.
Every child should experience the confidence boost that comes from feeling physically competent, whether it's making a great play out on the field, getting onto the starting team, or just not always being picked last for kickball.
Aids Cognitive Development
Kids who are physically active are also better able to concentrate and learn. Children who grow up putting a premium on their physical ability will generally make healthy choices, including everything from diet to drinking and drugs