Does being physically active as a child really lead to healthy habits as an adult?



Cue my core business value and my big “WHY”.

I recently turned the big “4-0” and although it’s getting harder, I still really enjoy being physically active and (reasonably) fit. I still play netball, run a few times a week and I’m active at the gym. I also recently took up (very slow) skateboarding! Let’s be honest, I could be doing a whole lot more but this is enough for me right now.

I have always played sport ever since I was five and I have never been scared to try different sports. From basketball, netball, dancing, karate, tennis, touch football… you name it, I’ve played it. I was never scared to participate in sport and I believe this is because I developed the necessary skills at an early age to be confident in my physical abilities.

This realisation got me thinking and is the core reason behind creating my children’s fitness business. I want every child to grown strong, confident and resilient.

If you expose children to a variety of sports and physical activity they will develop a confidence in their natural ability and competence and therefore develop a love of being active.

By natural ability I am not talking about being the best on ground or the highest goal kicker on the football team, I am referencing the natural ability to catch or kick a ball, run, jump, display sportsmanship or do a handstand! But most importantly have the basic coordination and fitness skills to just participate.

You might be asking, why is this relevant and what is the importance here?

The relevance is that by developing a natural ability within children to play sport, to be active and to participate in movement we are setting healthy habits for life. What happens when you suck at something or you consistently lose or cannot complete a simple task? You lose interest, you don’t want to participate, you avoid that activity all together and in today’s society we cannot allow our children to lose interest or avoid physical activity.

That’s why as parents, coaches and teachers, we need to build a child’s confidence and self-worth by ensuring the basics are there. This in turn will keep them going, keep them participating, they don’t win every time but they will still enjoy it, they have that competence to continue to be physically active and compete or at least participate.

I think this is particularly important for little girls. Studies have shown they are more likely to ditch physical activity over time, especially during their vulnerable teenage years. By creating this confidence long before they are more likely to become healthy adults. 

 Sure, I didn’t grow up with social media, gaming or iPads and some of you may be saying that’s the difference here. Of course I agree with you, a lot has changed in our society but we all know children should not be having any more than one hour of screen time daily – what are they doing with the other 23 hours in our care?

Once your child reaches high school, if they have not been exposed to sports, physical activity and movement or developed a natural ability, I guarantee you have lost them.  You are now competing with social media and gaming and there is nothing that will motivate them to play a sport, to get outside and shoot some hoops or kick a footy because that love, that natural skill level just isn’t there.

We’re constantly being reminded of the many health benefits of exercise, we all know being physically active plays a massive role on our moods, mental health and well being. Participating in sport teaches resilience and social skills. These are fundamental life skills, important well beyond their teenage years and therefore help to create a well adjusted adult.

Written by Kylie Alexander of FAF kids.

FAF Kids is a physical education based music and movement program designed to help children build confidence, coordination and social interaction skills all while having FUN!

FAF Kids is currently operating from the Gold Coast.

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