Exercise and Children: 4 Reasons Why Your Kids Need to Start
With childhood obesity reaching an all-time high in America and some countries around the world, exercise has never been a more important factor in a child’s health. Diet is the primary key in controlling weight gain but exercise plays several key roles in stopping childhood obesity while promoting proper growth and development. Let’s take a look at why you should be encouraging more play time and less television time.
Exercise for kids is not going to be the same as what an adult would consider exercise. The central focus for children is getting them up and moving.
Examples of Exercise for Kids
- Sports (baseball, soccer, swimming, etc)
- Games (manhunt, hide and seek, tag)
- Chores (mowing the lawn, gardening, walking the dog)
What about resistance training?
This is a tricky subject and one that gets a lot of advocates on both sides of the debate. Is weight training safe for children? Yes and no.
Some experts warn that weight training in prepubescent children may result in bone complications. Other experts say it IS safe so long as you have a proper program.
- Choose the middle road. Children under the age of 13 should be focusing on bodyweight exercises. This will develop strength without the worry of bone complications.
- g. – Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, etc.
- Better Grades
A series of studies have pointed to the correlation between exercise, consistent physical activity and higher grades. This may have everything to do with increased levels of oxygen-rich blood flowing to the brain. Combine this with higher levels of stress busting and mood boosting hormones and you have a kid who is going to be doing a lot better in the classroom.
- Better Development
If you weren’t a physically active kid while growing up, did you ever feel awkward in your body? As if there were 15 levers and you could only pull two at a time?
Exercise can help kids develop higher levels of neuromuscular control, allowing them to feel more comfortable and confident in their own bodies. This will be especially important as they reach puberty and their bodies are flooded with growth hormones.
- Better Weight Control
This should be a given but being more physically active whether through sports or household chores is going to curb weight gain. The more physically active kids are, the more calories they burn. Basic weight loss works like this: you need to burn or expend MORE calories than you consume.
Kids who are more active tend to have a healthier BMI (body mass index) and little to no cardiovascular health issues.
- Better Life
Children who have the chance to be physically active on a more consistent basis are going to be healthier and happier.
Exercise does a number of amazing things within the body. It keeps your weight in check, encourages the removal of toxins, promotes feel good hormones, and supports proper development. In other words, staying active is going to help your children have a better life.
Tell Us What You Think!
Do you think exercise is an important part of a child’s life?
How do you make sure your kids are staying physically active?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Esteban-Cornejo I, Tejero-González CM, Martinez-Gomez D, del-Campo J, González-Galo A, Padilla-Moledo C, Sallis JF, Veiga OL; UP & DOWN Study Group. Independent and combined influence of the components of physical fitness on academic performance in youth. J Pediatr. 2014 Aug;165(2):306-312.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.04.044. Epub 2014 Jun 19.