Physical Activity for Kids: Why and How?

Physical Activity for Kids: Why and How?

By Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 6 min

Physical Activity for Kids

We often talk about healthy eating habits at Ahimsa. Well, we are a dinnerware company after all! However, nutrition is just one part of the bigger picture of health and wellness. We must not forget other important factors like exercise, sleep, mindfulness and play when we think about a holistic approach to our child's health. I'll focus on physical activity for kids today.

I understand. It's the winter. It's cold, dark, children are in remote learning and some cities are in lockdown due to rising cases of COVID-19. How can you possibly think of exercise? Well - just like everything else this year, we need to get creative. The good news is that physical activity for children can be as simple as PLAY. That's right. Playing indoors or bundling up and still playing outside in cold weather - that is your child's exercise. How fabulous is that? Brainstorm with your child on games that require physical activity this winter. Kids happen to be the most creative and innovative people on the planet. They may just create a magical obstacle course in your home ... and YOU will also raise your heart rate by completing it!

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

Want to know more? Check out our story and our products

Here is some great information based on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement on physical activity. 

What exercises should children do?

Physical activities should be age-appropriate, diverse and most importantly – fun! The AAP describes the FITT method (frequency, intensity, time and type) to remember how to stay active.

Frequency: kids should be physically active every day

Intensity: activities should be moderate; aim for at least three times a week for activities to be vigorous (enough to make you breath hard and sweat).

Time: Kids ages 6 and older should engage in 60 minutes of physical activity over the course of a day. Toddlers and preschoolers should have at least 180 minutes throughout the day.

Type: Aerobic exercises would include walking, dancing, hiking, jogging, biking, swimming and skating. Muscle strengthening helps to strengthen major muscle groups. Pushups, tree climbing, monkey bars and tug-of-war all work kid’s muscles! Lastly, bone-strengthening exercises like basketball, jumping rope, gymnastics and tennis all help tone and build muscles and bone mass.

Remember that play is the best form of exercise. Give your child plenty of unstructured playtime to run, dance, climb, and kick and throw balls … let them burn off that energy while having loads of fun!

What exercises can children and parents do together?

You can take a family bike ride, play catch or tag, kick a soccer ball or have a dance party. Pack a picnic and go hiking together to enjoy the outdoors. Children who see their parents enjoying physical activity are more likely to do so themselves. Your children will learn how to be active from you!  

What are the benefits of exercise for children?

Studies have shown that physical activity promotes a healthier cardiovascular system, develops motor skills and coordination, builds healthy bones and muscles and improves self-confidence and self-esteem. Outdoor play, in particular, helps to build spatial awareness, balance and can improve a child’s attention span.  

Do parents benefit from exercising with their children?

Modern parenting often involves busy schedules, balancing work and home life, and daily stresses. By spending time together and playing with your children, you are bonding through shared experiences all while receiving the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise yourself. 

How does family exercise affect the relationships between family members?

Adults and children who exercise have a greater ability to handle stress and show improvements in self-confidence and self-esteem. Family exercise also allows for numerous opportunities for parents and siblings to motivate and encourage each other – after all, the first team we are ever part of is our family. 

So go on ... get up and move with your kids today!

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

Mealtime Essentials from Ahimsa

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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