The Benefits of exercise for children
Physical activity in children is essential for a wide number of reasons. It helps to control getting overweight and obese; it increases strength in muscles and bones, and can even improve concentration at school. Exercise is a vital component of any child’s development and lays the foundation for a healthy life ahead.
What does exercise do?
Exercise promotes healthy growth and development
These benefits continue into adulthood as kids who exercise are more likely to keep exercising as adults.
Helps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Childhood obesity is a significant problem today. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet can help to reduce the likelihood of your child being overweight or obese. If weight loss is required, then exercise can reduce it in a healthy way.
Improves cardiovascular health
The heart is the most important muscle that gets exercised during physical activity. Regular exercise helps to reduce risk factors of cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Improves balance, flexibility, coordination and strength
Balance and coordination skills are necessary for everyday life. Improved muscle strength and flexibility improves a child’s overall health and physical fitness.
Assists in the development of gross and fine motor skills
Gross motor skills enable a child to perform everyday functions such as walking, running and sporting skills.
Poor posture in children can result in fatigue, back and neck pain and headaches. Children who have spines that are out of alignment or deformed due to chronic slouching are less developed in physical coordination and as a result, cognitive coordination.
Improves concentration and thinking skills
Studies have shown that exercising improves a child’s academic achievement. Exercise encourages your brain to work at maximum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.
Boosts confidence and self-esteem
This may be related to exercise and its ability to boost mood, increase positivity and strengthen self-worth.
Relieves stress and promotes relaxation
Exercise is a fantastic way to relieve stress and anxiety. Children, like adults, can be affected by these problems. It can also improve sleep which is critical for a child’s overall health and wellbeing.
Provides opportunities to develop social skills and make friends
Exercising in a group, especially engaging in a team sport offers a chance for children to make new friends and work as a team.
Sports skills can be applied in the classroom
Regular participation in sports activities is known to improve a child’s behaviour in the classroom as well. From increasing the level of concentration to working well with peers, being confident and indulging in teamwork.
How do we Encourage kids to exercise?
To get your kids moving, limit the amount of time they spend watching tv, playing computer or video games and doing other sedentary activities. Replace these activities with other forms of physical activity which can be structured or play-based. Children need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily but will benefit from even more than this. Allow your child to choose activities that appeal to them, and that are age-appropriate. Keeping it fun will allow the child to stay interested and remember to exercise yourself to set a good example.
What types of exercises are suitable for children?
Play-based and structured activities for children are two important sources of exercise for children. It’s important to vary the form of exercise which can include aerobic activity, interval training, strength training, stretching and corebuilding activities.
Play-based activities are important for children of all ages but especially in kids under the age of 5. A game with a ball, dancing to music, playing at the park and games that stimulate a child’s imagination are good examples. These forms of exercise allow adults to get involved; they are spontaneous, fun and don’t cost a thing.
Structured exercise: Exercise in the form of a class or team sport is what is referred to as a structured form of exercise. It can allow a child to develop specific skills such as gymnastics, soccer or swimming. Team sports can help to boost confidence and develop social skills.
Improve your child’s health physically and academically by encouraging at least 30 minutes or more of daily exercise. Set them up well in life so they can lead a healthy and happy life.