RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - New federal guidelines stress the importance of any type of exercise to stay fit. Instead of recommending children start exercising at six, they now say kids need to start at age three, but just what is exercise for a three-year-old and how important is it?
Federal health guidelines share how important exercise is to stay in shape and prevent health issues. With the guidelines changing the age children should start exercising to three, this can affect how children look at exercise.
"We're teaching them that exercise is fun, exercise should be part of their daily life. It's also helping them make good choices, whether it's in you know choosing to do something or not to do something or we talk about nutrition, we talk about food and making these healthy habits and they want their bodies to work for them," says Erin Grote, director of Just Jymnastics.
Exercise for a toddler doesn't necessarily mean that they should do pushups or lift weights.
"It's gonna be more like just be active. Get out, play, play is exercise. Some of the best things we do here, especially like our daycare even as young as, my son's in our daycare, he's 18 months old, and they still go in the gyms and play every single day. They're not just sittin' in a room all day or watching TV," says Chris Aid, wellness director at the YMCA.
At the YMCA in Rapid City, toddlers can take swim lessons at age three. Just Jymnastics also has programs for children starting as early as walking age and these programs also provide them with skills for the future.
"And gymnastics itself builds onto every sport, the balance the determination, all of those things keep you going so that when they decide oh I love basketball they've learned all these great lessons from gymnastics and they can add it to what they're already doing," says Grote.
Making sure children are active and healthy is important, but some say there is much more that they can learn with these lessons such as taking turns, dealing with conflict, and respect for coaches or mentors.
"The biggest thing that we want them to leave here with is self-confidence. Yes the gymnastics is amazing and the athleticism is amazing, but we want them to be confident to go out and have a great time in their PE class if they have to or play on the playground instead of being shy and just be more confident and proud of themselves," Grote says.