The Importance of Playing to Child Development

The United Nations established November 20th as Universal Children's Day in 1954 to promote child welfare, international togetherness, and awareness about children's rights all over the world. At Resurgens Orthopaedics, we're using the occasion to tell you more about issues that affect the welfare and togetherness of children right here in our Atlanta-area community. For children everywhere, physical play is a crucial part of child development, not only because it helps them work on their social skills, but also because it helps them develop strong bones and muscles that will give them a solid foundation for good musculoskeletal health in the future. Today, we'd like to tell you more about the role of physical play in helping children develop a healthy musculoskeletal system.

Building Strong Bones and Muscles through Physical Play

It's often said that, "if you don't use it, you lose it." While that may not be true in all situations, it's certainly true of your musculoskeletal system. When children don't get enough physical exercise, they may be missing out on a crucial opportunity to increase bone density and add muscle mass more rapidly than at any other time in their lives. According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, people who develop a higher peak bone mass in childhood will be much less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life. Physical play can be a fun way for children to gain bone density and muscle mass that will protect them from injuries and musculoskeletal disorders as they age.

Playing Helps to Combat Obesity

Obesity rates among children are reaching epidemic proportions, affecting more than 30% of kids in the United States. When children are overweight, they're likely to develop a sedentary lifestyle as they get older. Without physical play, they can lose bone density and muscle mass, making it more and more difficult for them to get the exercise they need. By encouraging the kids in your life to spend more time engaging in physical play, you'll be helping them combat childhood obesity so they can grow into healthy adults.

Developing Healthy Habits in Childhood

Speaking of adulthood, the habits we have as adults are often rooted in our experiences as children. When you encourage kids to engage in physical play regularly, they'll quickly get used to it, and they'll start to feel an absence in their lives when they don't get any physical activity. As they get older, kids who got plenty of physical play time will become teens who get regular exercise, who will become adults with a need to make physical activity part of their everyday lives.

As you can see, physical play in childhood is a crucial part of musculoskeletal development, and in the development of healthy habits that kids will carry into adulthood. If you have children in your life, it's up to you to give them plenty of opportunities for physical play and to encourage and support them in their efforts. When they grow up with strong muscles and bones, they will definitely thank you for it!