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Kids fitness during the Omicron Wave

Before we understand fitness among children, let us understand the 3rd wave of Covid 19 or Omicron. To begin with let us understand its symptoms, the known causes and severity among kids. The biggest worry for parents stems from the fact that the covid vaccination drive for kids has just begun across India.

Symptoms of Omicron – Every passing day is reaffirming that Omicron is a highly contagious variant of Covid-19 and is spreading or multiplying much faster compared to our earlier experiences with Covid-19. Biggest symptoms so far are the severe infection of the respiratory system with fever, running nose, throat pain, body ache and dry coughs. The common symptoms of loss of smell and taste during delta infection are not to be seen in Omicron. Since identifying this variant in the latter part of November 2021, researchers around the world are conducting various studies to better understand this variant.

The Known Causes of Omicron – This variant of Covid-19 has a much shorter incubation period compared to other variants and hence once infected the person has high potential to be contagious. Symptoms of Omicron can start showing anytime between 3 to 14 days, but the infected person can start transmitting to others from the second day of infection. Immediately isolate yourself as soon as you suspect to have been infected. This way you can save others around you from getting infected by you. Avoid closed enclosures be it a room, public gym etc. You are better at home with open windows.

Severity of Omicron – Initial data shows that there is an increase in spread of the infection, however though unconfirmed, this could be purely due to the contagious nature of the Omicron variant.Initial infections reported amongst students and children were of mild nature, but more conclusive evidence is being worked on and could take weeks before the researchers have a definitive answer to the severity of the variant. Vulnerable sections of the population might experience severe disease or death and hence it is the responsibility of all to be cautious and adopt preventive techniques.

Now let us understand how we can prevent the spread of Omicron amongst our kids. Let us build our kids and their bodies to fight the virus more effectively with proper diets, kids exercises, sleep and a better lifestyle.

Vaccination : This is the first and most important preventive step to be taken by a parent/kid. If your kid is between 15 to 18 years of age, he/she should be immediately vaccinated at a government approved vaccination centre nearest to you. He/she should be closely observed and post vaccination procedure should be followed as prescribed by the doctor/vaccination centre. 

Immune System : Bolster your immune system with better food and eating habits. Your immune system depends a lot on the health of your alimentary system.Since Omicron is understood to have developed many spike protein mutations, antibodies and antibiotics are found to be less effective. However, a strong T-cell can offer protection against Omicron.Researchers report that it would be tougher for Omicron to get past our T-cells and infect us. T cells are part of the human immune system and develop from the stem cells in our bone marrow. They are also called T lymphocytes and thymocytes and help our body fight infections.

A Good Diet : An Indian diet consisting of vitamin C and zinc-rich foods help keep good health. Garlic, ginger, homemade Indian garam masala, turmeric, raw honey and tulsi add more value to the diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds are all rich in nutrition and help bolster your body’s immune system. Diabetic people should include antioxidants like broccoli, blueberries and nuts in their diet to help their weak immune system. Vitamin D is vital for immune function, helps prevention and helps post infection recovery and hence, exposure to early morning sunlight is highly recommendable. Drink a lot of clean boiled water. Cool water to room temperature before drinking. Drink water with Purpose. Avoid the refined sugars, flours, processed, junk food and aerated drinks. Panic eating and Panic dieting should be avoided.

Physical exercise for kids at home : Exercising in moderation, moving around and staying active are some of the very simple yet very effective ways to keep the immunity high. Staying calm and stressless can do wonders to your immunity and the best way to achieve it is doing some basic pranayama ( yoga ) exercises. The breathing exercise for children will oxygenate their cells and make them healthier over a period of time. Even musical classes can help relieve stress. Consult a doctor before starting a rigorous exercise program. It is safer to moderately exercise. While exercise is important, it also takes your body some time to get used to it and hence everyone should be within their limits of their own physical capabilities and only slowly over time, increase the amount of exercise done by oneself. Food should never be compensated on account of exercise. Some of the notes to motivate your kid to exercise at home include :

  • Help your child identify an exercise that he/she enjoys.  Kids fitness classes help in a big way.
  • Make sure your child has some convenient time and place to exercise at home.
  • Encourage them to exercise at home.
  • Help them have access to active toys.
  • They learn from you. They love to imitate you. Be their role model. Exercise with kids.
  • Avoid overdoing exercises.
  • Begin Young, Begin Early

Dance exercises for kids : Dancing is a whole-body fun workout. It is good for their heart, it makes them stronger and it helps increase balance and coordination. Dance has been shown to increase critical and creative thinking abilities in kids. This is based on the results of studies on kids and how dance has positively impacted their originality, fluency, abstractness, elaboration, and resistance. A half hour dance routine burns between 130 and 250 calories almost about the same as jogging. Sign up for a class to learn more. Other health benefits of dancing include 

  • improved condition of your heart and lungs.
  • increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness.
  • increased aerobic fitness.
  • improved muscle tone and strength.
  • Weight management.
  • stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
  • better coordination, agility and flexibility.

Many dance fitness courses have a focus on cardiovascular exercise. Instructors plan easy-to-follow choreography that keeps participants moving in an effort to raise their heart rates. 

Change your lifestyle to reverse lifestyle diseases and thus avoid unwanted diseases. A burdened body would be tough to defend against infections and easily vulnerable to Covid-19 variants. Short-term lifestyle changes would not be very helpful. You need to be consistent. Strengthening your immune system is not a day’s or week’s effort. It’s a lifelong commitment to diet and lifestyle changes.
Trust this is helpful. We would love to hear your thoughts and always look to support better health for kids.

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