While there are still many children who remain physically active, there are more and more children that rather surf the Internet or play video games than be involved in physical activity. As technology advances it becomes more entertaining for children and they are becoming less active. Exercise is not only important for adults but it also benefits children in many ways. Ensuring children have enough physical activities throughout the day is very important to their growth and development. Regular physical activity can help prevent chronic diseases and build strong healthy bodies in many ways:
*It will develop muscle strength that will assist in preventing injuries.
*It will improve their heart and lung capacities that will help them function more efficiently. This will benefit in day-to-day activities and in controlling blood pressure.
*It will assist in keeping their bones strong, which will aid in preventing osteoporosis later on in life.
*It will decrease body fat and assist in maintaining a steady, healthy weight.
*It will help children expend energy, which helps with weight control.
*It can help reduce the risk for Type II Diabetes.
Regular physical activity is also essential in developing and perfecting fine and gross motor skills, which are important to coordination, confidence, socialization and academic performance. Exercise doesn’t only benefit children’s physical health and motor skills; it can also benefit their mental health in many ways:
*Their self-esteem appears to rise and they gain confidence, feeling comfortable in their own shoes.
*It helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety due to the physical activity alternating the brains chemistry and increasing the levels of serotonin.
*It increases concentration and alertness by releasing endorphins that act on the brain to improve mental focus and cognitive skills.
*It helps boost their energy levels by stimulating their circulation and blood flow that deliver oxygen and nutrients to their tissues.
*It controls mood swings and improves feelings of happiness! It is mental stimulation that gives children the sense that they have achieved something.
In order to achieve results, it is suggested that children take part in some type of physical activity at least 60 minutes every day according to the American Heart Association. Unlike adults, they do not need to follow a specific exercise program to achieve these results. Running, jumping, climbing, playing on the playground, shooting hoops, kicking a soccer ball, riding bikes, etc. are all examples of activities that are sufficient to meet their needs. Going to the pool is another great option that is fun for everyone and can be a great aerobic exercise. They should take part in activities that interest them. Activities at a local YMCA or after school sports can be a fun option. As a parent or leader, you can take part in their physical activity and be a role model. Ask them what they like to do and get the entire family involved. You can let them pick the activity; this makes them feel special! Make sure they have access to active toys like balls, jump ropes, bikes, etc. Making the activity fun and playing as a family will trump the Internet and video games and the child will receive the exercise they need.
Teaching children a healthy active lifestyle will benefit them well into the future. It is important to be involved and ensure they have the resources available to be physically active. Making it fun and not too much like a lesson is key with children. If they are doing something they enjoy and are not forced to do it, they are likely not to quit. Regular physical activity is very important for children as their growth, development and mental health depends on it. Exercise on!
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read herein.