We know that physical activity is good for children. But what about more advanced physical activity? The notion of training? Competitions?

1. Before Age 7: Physical Activity Rather than Sport 

For young children (aged 1 to 7 years), the idea is above all to burn off energy: playing in the park, improvising a dance show, using a scooter to get to school "We're talking 'unstructured' activities, in that there is no rules and enjoyment is most important," summarises Adrien Lelong, an osteopath at the COPS (Centre for osteopathy and sports posturology) in Lille (France). "Sport is a good way to encounter the outside world. Discovering sensations, places, people… Don't hesitate to try different sports to find the one that will help your child flourish the most."

Nevertheless, by adapting the activity to the child's abilities, sport can be started at around 5 or 6 years old. "It is entirely possible to introduce children to sport gently" states Grégory Dupas, osteopath/posturologist.

With one condition: "remember that if you start too early, the child's body is still very malleable and therefore fragile."

baby girl cycling

2. 7 Years, A Generally Accepted Age to Start A Sport

kid practising karate

The age of wisdom? That of the notion of balance, coordination, or above all strength.

"There aren't really any counter-indications," adds Adrien Lelong "as long as you see a doctor annually to check that there are no problems. Even children with asthma and diabetes can do sport. Adaptations are needed of course, but psychologically, the effects will be very positive."

3. From 8 to 12 Years: Improvement

After this introductory stage, a child aged 8 to 12 can look at improving, and maybe even competing. Nevertheless, it's important to include a warm-up (before activity), as well as stretches and recovery (after activity). No matter how agile and keen they are (to get on a judo mat, jump on a pony or show off their new dance routine), children can still get injured.

Whatever the child's age, it is also important to take them to the osteopath regularly for a check-up, to ensure that their development and posture are on the right track. A good way of keeping your child healthy and limiting future physical problems in adulthood.

Experiences to share? How are your children doing? How about you: did you develop a taste for sport in childhood or later on? Tell us everything! 

kid in a karate competition

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