EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The pandemic has made it difficult for people to balance many aspects of their lives especially exercise.

Between home school, virtual work, and social distancing, physical activity at times seems impossible. The COVID pandemic has forced many children to become more inactive because of changes to their school routine and fear of participating in community sports. In this edition of Parenting Playbook, Eyewitness News look at how physical activity is not only an important part of growth, but also has many health benefits.

16-year-old Gabrielle Chantiloupe of Scranton is an avid tennis player and is part of the Elite Program at Birchwood Tennis and Fitness Club in Clarks Summit. She trains often to help improve technical, physical and strategic skills.

“It has a lot of benefits. If I didn’t play tennis I would sit on the couch and eat a lot of potato chips,” Chantiloupe said.

For some, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on their daily lives. Because of changes to school routines and fear of participating in community sports, engaging in physical activities has declined. But experts say physical activity is an important part of growth, and has many health related benefits.

Misha Fomenkov is a pro tennis player and Gabrelle’s coach. He’s been playing tennis since the age of 4 and is nationally ranked in the U.S. According to Fomenkov, starting a physical activity at a young age is key to lasting physical fitness.

‘They need to grow right, they need to build muscles, they need to burn a lot of calories, follow right diet, it’s very important to be active four, five, six years old,” Fomenkov said.

When kids are active playing sports, it not only helps to improve physical fitness but also helps boost confidence and self esteem.

“When people are watching me from up there it makes me feel smallish but I brush that aside and focus on myself so it helps me prepare for the real world.”

So how active should your child be? According to the CDC, children and adolescents aged six through 17 should do 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous exercise each day. Preschool-aged children three to five years old should be active when they play throughout the day.

Below are some tips on how to get started on an exercise routine:

  • make it a habit
  • set a schedule that fits into your routine
  • grab a buddy
  • warm up before and stretch afterwards
  • hydrate with plenty of water