12 Reasons Exercise for Kids is Beneficial for Growth and Development

18 days ago
Play2Health

12 Reasons Exercise for Kids is Beneficial for Growth and Development

If someone had told me, when I was a kid, to stare at a screen for 4 hours instead of play outside, I would have told them to stick it where the sun don't shine!

I ran a lot as a kid, as did all my friends. We were in constant motion running through the fields, to the woods, over the creek, onto the tennis court, through the pond, under the bridge... It was not the norm to watch TV all day; it was just not done in our household. Being outside was our playground, and we wanted to be moving.

I imagine you have heard grandparent and parent stories of themselves walking or riding their bike long distances to school every day, cutting wood, carrying food, washing the garments, transporting water, planting the garden, playing sports and walking home afterward, and walking to the movie theater.

Nowadays we have cars or buses, washing machines, and very few wood stoves. Not many people garden and adults usually drive children where they want to go. However, your body is designed for physical activity, and without enough exercise, it begins to slow down, choke up and become unfit.

Most children take pleasure in being physically active, and the exercise they obtain while they play is a factor in the development of strong bones and muscles. Unfortunately, there are an increasing number of barriers to exercise for kids in today's modern world. Video games and television, parents who have to work long hours, cuts to the school physical education programs and recess and unsafe neighborhoods can make it hard for kids to get even the minimum amount of exercise they require to be healthy.

When adults create environments that stop kids from being lively, we are not only undermining their health, but we are also making it harder for children to succeed in school

Kids exercise all the time without even thinking of it. When you sprint around outside or play tag at school, it is a kind of exercise. What else is exercise? Activities such as playing sports, pushups, dancing, and touching the ground all qualify.

Among the many benefits of physical fitness are increased confidence and stronger self-esteem, more energy, better memory, and a better feeling about themselves; low hanging fruit and easy to attain!

According to the American Heart Association, most children should get a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise every day. These periods of activity can be broken into multiple sessions as long as they add up to around an hour of exercise. Kids do not need to adhere to regimented training programs created to achieve specific results that adults usually adhere to in their routines. Merely moving around, jumping, running, and climbing is adequate to meet their needs. 

Happy Heart = Exercise

Your heart is a muscle. It works hard because it pumps blood every day of your life. You can help this important muscle get stronger by doing aerobic exercise.

Aerobic means "with air," so this is an activity that requires oxygen. You take in oxygen when you breathe; if you are performing aerobic exercise, you may notice you're breathing faster than sitting on the couch. Aerobic activity can get your heart pumping, makes breathing harder and begins the sweating process.

When you provide your heart this kind of training on a regular schedule, your heart will get better at its primary job which is delivering oxygen to the body.

Strengthening Muscles = Exercise

Did you ever throw a ball or swing across the bars in the gym or at the park? These are exercises that can build strength. Children using muscles for powerful things can build strength.

For kids, exercise means being physically active and playing. Kids exercise at school when they have gym class, during recess, at sports practices, while riding skateboards, or when playing kickball. When most adults consider exercise, they imagine working out in the gym, running on a treadmill, or lifting weights.

The Sedentary Dilemma

Being obese or overweight in childhood has become a severe problem. Many things add to this epidemic, but a big part of it is that kids are becoming more sedentary. To be blunt, they're sitting a lot more than they used to.

Kids and teens now spend hours every day in front of a screen looking at a variety of media. Not enough physical activity and too much screen time add to the problem of obesity in kids.

One of the best ways to get children to be more active is to regulate the amount of time spent in sitting activities, especially playing video games or watching other media devices.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates parents:

  • Add limits on the time spent using media and video games. These mediums should not take the place of being active and obtaining the right amount of sleep.

  • Limit screen time to one hour a day or less for children two to five years old.

  • Restrain from any screen time, except video-chatting, for kids younger than eighteen months.

  • Keep media devices out of kid’s bedrooms and turn off screens while eating.

  • Decide on high-quality programming and watch it with your children to help them understand what they are observing.

In the recent past, parents were concerned more about their children being home by the time the sun went down than whether or not they got the required amount of activity every day.

In this day and age, adults are advised to monitor their kid’s body mass index (height-to-weight ratio) as the obesity problem among children ages six to nineteen has reached above fifteen percent, four times what it was in the 1960s. Physical activity will not only help children today from being obese, but it will also show them healthy habits that can last throughout their life.  

12 Reasons Exercise That Is Beneficial To Kids Health And Development:

  1. Kids are less likely to become overweight and will have better control of their body fat. Obese children can reduce their body weight and fat because of the physiological effect of burning it while exercising.

  2. Studies report that exercise improves mood and outlook in children, lowers anxiety, and decreases depression. Also, their quality of sleep is enhanced.

  3. Exercise strengthens heart and lungs and the entire cardiovascular system. The heart develops a higher “pump-activity” while the child’s heart and lungs are strengthened, supporting the prevention of heart disease. Participating in regular physical activity prevents or impedes the development of many chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and hypertension) and encourages health.

  4. Exercise helps in the development of critical communication skills including participation in team sports.

  5. Exercise helps develop motor coordination and enhances many motor performance skills.

  6. Exercise boosts the brain’s metabolism. Studies show that exercise promotes improved school attendance and improves academic performance. Active children have the ability to concentrate a lot better, even at the end of a long school session. Research shows that active children have improved memory as a result of more efficient brain function.

  7. The body’s ability to fight disease is helped with exercise. Kids are less prone to colds, allergies, and diseases.

  8. Fun and moderate exercise burns off excess harmful hormones and increases the release of positive ones.

  9. Children who keep fit are more energized because of their body’s ability to detoxify. Active kids breathe better and sweat more which are tremendous ways to detoxify the body and help it keep itself “clean.”

  10. Children who are active improve their own body’s ability to absorb oxygen through aerobic exercise; more oxygen equals more energy. This increase in blood flow promotes the body’s movement of the byproducts of metabolism and toxins back from the cells for recycling, elimination, or to use in other parts of the body.

  11. Regular physical activity helps maintain and build healthy muscles, joints and bones.

  12. Kids who play and exercise are more probable to keep working out as an adult.

How Much Exercise Is Enough?

Parents need to make sure that their kids get enough exercise. What is the magic number? Teens and children should get 60 minutes or more of moderate to intense physical activity in a given day.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) proposes these activity procedures for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers:

Infant

No specific requirements

Physical activity should encourage motor development

 

Toddler

1.5 hours

30 minutes arranged physical activity and 60 minutes unstructured physical activity

 

Preschooler

2 hours

60 minutes planned physical activity and 60 minutes unstructured physical activity

 

School age

1 hour or more

These can be broken up into segments of 15 minutes or more

Infants and young children should not be inactive for extended periods of time unless they are sleeping. School-age children shouldn’t be inactive for periods 2 hours or longer.

Rearing Fit Children

Mixing regular physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips for rearing fit children:

  • Assist your kids to partake in a variety of appropriate age activities.

  • Institute a regular schedule for physical activity.

  • Activity becomes a part of daily life. An example is biking to the store instead of driving.

  • Take on a healthier lifestyle yourself so that you will be a helpful role model for your children and the entire family.

  • Your kids will come back for more if you keep it fun!

Developing Skills

Learning and playing are natural for toddlers, so mastering physical skills should be tied into games and fun. Parents should give toddler’s opportunities to rehearse their developing skills while offering supervision, so they stay safe while they learn.

In addition to these physical achievements, toddlers are developing in other ways. Provide opportunities for yours to explore, ask questions, use his or her imagination, and practice fine motor skills, such as building or coloring.

Kids, who exercise and follow a healthy diet, are more likely than sedentary children to stay active as adults.

Physical activity develops children’s self-esteem and confidence which is imperative. Their ability to prevail over challenging situations gets better, and they enjoy a positive view on life. Also, growing children can develop further social skills such as empathy and leadership.

Encourage Play and Activity

It might look like just play, but toddlers are hard at work discovering important physical skills as they gain balance, muscle control, and coordination. Each new skill lets them advance to the next one, constructing a foundation that leads to more advanced physical tasks, such as playing on the monkey bars, throwing a ball, or performing a somersault.

Why is exercise good for your body?

  • Heart and Lungs: They get stronger when they start pushing harder. This enables you to feel more energy and means you can run, walk or play longer without feeling exhausted.

  • Muscles: Exercise makes them stronger to allow you to push your body to do things it couldn’t do before.

  • Bones: They become stronger when you exercise so you can move faster in your activity.

  • Reflexes and Coordination: Exercise and practice can help children catch the baseball or shoot the basketball.

  • Remaining Healthy: Exercise allows you to keep your weight at an adequate level. It can mean you’re less likely to pick up diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and some kinds of cancer. It can also help the rate in which you obtain the flu or a cold.

Why is exercise good for the mind?

A great workout will get your blood moving and provide more oxygen for the mind. This means you think more clearly.

  • Stops kids from zoning out in class or while doing homework

  • Improves scores on tests

  • Helps children get better grades

  • Helps them sleep more efficient. When you exercise, your brain gets the memo that you're tired at night.

Why can exercise leave you in a better mood?

It influences chemicals in your brain, and those will change how you feel. When kids get active, they can:

  • Get more energy, so they feel good and can do things he or she wants to do, like dance, sports, playing an instrument, or reading

  • Feel better when they had a stressful day

  • Stay calmer when they have to prepare something for school

Our children are our future; understanding and supporting their natural longing for physical activity will help lead them to a lifetime of healthy and happy living. If we happily instruct them how to include healthy exercise from the beginning of their development, we will be providing our children a gift that will continue throughout their and their kid’s lifetimes.

When you are active, you're helping build a powerful body that will be able to accomplish all the things you need it to do. If your child is active every day and their body will thank you later!

In conclusion, the summary for your child as to why they need to exercise:

  • It makes you feel fit, strong and healthy.

  • You feel relaxed.

  • You sleep better.

  • Your heart and lungs get stronger.

  • Your bones get healthier.

  • You have more energy to do more stuff.

  • You look fantastic.

  • It stops you feeling so stressed.

  • It's enjoyable to exercise with others.

  • Your weight stays down.

  • Your muscles get stronger.

  • You can get rid of bad feelings and anger.

  • Your brain releases 'endorphins' – these are chemicals which make you feel good.

  • Your body stays works better and stays efficient.

Cut this and paste it on your child’s bulletin board!

 

This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.
comments

More from parenting

Parenting
by Vanessa Quigley | in 6 hours
Parenting
by Mariah MacCarthy | 18 hours ago
Parenting
by Fairygodboss | 3 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 3 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 3 days ago
Parenting
by Monica Beyer | 3 days ago
Parenting
by Monica Beyer | 3 days ago
Parenting
by Lauren Caruso | 4 days ago
Parenting
by Bethany Ramos | 4 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 4 days ago
Parenting
by Dena Landon | 5 days ago
Parenting
by Mariah MacCarthy | 5 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 5 days ago
Parenting
by Catherine Newman | 5 days ago