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Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am







    Saturday, December 7, 2019-12:09:53A.M.






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BBJ Fitness Corner | The importance of youth fitness development

“AS a parent, fitness instructor or educator, it is essential to promote an active lifestyle that includes safe, purposeful, fun and age-appropriate physical activity during and outside of school hours,” Gold’s Gym personal trainer Jerry Diaz said.

He said there is a need to address concerns regarding childhood inactivity and obesity.

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Hana and Maja Diaz perform a straight arm plank to improve core strength.  Contributed photo
Hana and Maja Diaz perform a mini-circuit outside their home.  Contributed photo 

He believes that the community as a whole can provide a variety of afterschool youth sports programs that encourage individualized and group activities. These will help improve the children’s abilities, confidence, and interest in a physically active life.

Diaz recommends quality coaching in recreational activities that can develop foundational motor skills such as running, throwing, catching, kicking, balancing, twisting, jumping and landing. “Without these skills, kids will have a higher risk of being prone to injury and low performance,” he said.

To keep the youth interested, they should be provided with a fun environment and engaging activities that promote self-confidence as they learn social-emotional skills that they can apply to their daily lives.

Of course, Diaz said, safety comes first. Youth fitness programs should focus on the health, fitness, age and skill-level of each individual. “Not everyone is on the same fitness level. The planned exercise should be safe. In addition, equipment utilized during exercises should be at the highest quality to avoid accidents. Individual safety should never be overlooked in youth development programs.”

There are several benefits to youth fitness, Diaz said. These include positive mental health; social-emotional skills development; strong bones and muscles; reducing the likelihood of developing obesity; decreasing long-term risk factors that can lead to chronic diseases; and promoting a better quality of sleep.

Staying active also affects academic achievement. It helps improve concentration, memory, and classroom behavior.

Motivating the youth to be active is crucial for their healthy growth and development. Again, it’s important to recommend activities that are safe and appropriate for their abilities. Exercise should to be fun, so it’s something they will want to do. They have various preferences so variety is important. It is recommended for the youth to begin with calisthenics that involves body weight movements.

Physical activity is an important approach to improving our youth’s health, Diaz said. “Providing opportunities for at least one hour of movement daily can lead to positive healthy habits as they grow into adults.”