If you think children are getting all the exercise they need by going to school and coming back or simply playing in the building compound, think again. The trend of infant workouts is becoming huge today and it has been found that kids need a certain amount of time for real exercise every day.
What kids can do
Yoga teaches kids to be active and attain self-control. It also builds their concentration. Yoga expert Chaitanya Tirth says there are a few basic asanas that provide immense developmental benefits to children, "Easy asanas like Sarvangasana and Halasana are known to help kids with their spinal flexibility. Halasana is one such asana that increases blood flow to the brain areas and helps with improving memory," says Tirth who believes that a 30- minute interactive session at home can help kids immensely. Other asanas that kids can try at home, under adult supervision include Chakrasana and Surya Namaskara, which also provide several physiological benefits.
Asanas to avoid
Tirth believes children can start practicing meditation and easy asanas from five years upwards. He however believes that they should not be allowed to attempt complex asanas like Chakrasana, "It's based on breathing exercise and involves complex postures. This asana should only be practised by teenagers, and kids of more than 14 years of age as it could have an adverse effect on their growth," he adds.
Junior gyms too?
In the West, the trend of having 'junior gyms' has taken over, but is this pushing things a tad too far? Fitness expert Vinod Channa believes it's a controversial topic, though he feels it is a good thing if kids join the gym, "Bodyweight exercises mimic weight training. So, jumping and squatting have the same impact as a 10 pound squat exercise on the machine." Channa believes that whatever the exercise, kids also need to get enough nutrition which includes a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fibres and vitamins to supplement their workout. "These days, because of a space crunch in the city where kids don't have many open spaces to play in, I feel joining the gym is not too bad an idea," he adds.