Exercise is important for people of all ages, however, healthy habits are instilled at a young age and active children have a leg up on their peers, that is likely to continue into adulthood. A shift in our education system to requiring children to sit still for hours on end, the urbanization of land that restricts exploration, and a life of entertainment and education provided by screens has led to sedentary lifestyles becoming the norm, at a younger age. One-third of American children are overweight or obese and less than 25 percent of children get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise daily. This is a nationwide problem and the solution begins at each child’s home! Here are some of the top reasons why exercise is so important for kids.
Physical Benefits of Exercise for Kids
Healthy Growth and Development
Exercise promotes all of your bodily systems to work which helps improve the health and development of every organ. In children specifically, those who exercise have healthier, stronger bones, muscles, and immune systems! This means that their body is able to function optimally while avoiding illness and injury, allowing them to develop as they should.
It is never too early to start helping your body prevent heart disease. A healthy young heart will more effectively feed oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body which helps with growth and development as well as cognitive enrichment.
Less Likely to Become Overweight
Being overweight or obese is not a concern of vanity, but a concern of health and overall well-being. Excess weight puts tremendous stress on the skeletal muscular system, so if a child is obese, they will not develop properly and will have life-long issues. Vital organs that have a cushion of fat do not work as effectively, and as we know children’s organs are still developing — early obesity puts children down a very dark path, health-wise. When children learn healthy weight management techniques as children, they are more likely to carry them on into adulthood.
In addition to helping build a healthy body and immune system, regular exercise helps ward off chronic diseases that aren’t caused by microbes, such as diabetes. Most people think of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, and heart disease as adult conditions, however, these chronic diseases are becoming prevalent in younger ages due directly to poor diet and lack of regular exercise.
Positive Effects of Exercise in the Child’s Brain
That’s right, regular exercise can make your child smarter! Exercise helps to transport oxygen-rich blood to the brain which helps with focus and memory development. Exercise also helps to settle and focus a busy mind by releasing energy, which helps children to absorb information. When we move and exercise, our neurotransmitters fire at faster speeds, which helps children retain the information they have learned and connect it to other relevant information.
Regular moderate exercise helps feed your endocrine system the fuel that it needs to operate correctly. This includes regulating hormones that are responsible for energy, mood, sleep, growth, and puberty. Prevent hormones from getting out of whack with some regular exercise!
Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Improved Mood and Outlook on Life
Studies show that exercise releases hormones in the brain that contribute to a more positive mood, which when instilled in young children, can help promote a more positive outlook in life in general. Research also indicates that exercise at any age helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression which can also help to an improved mood.
Self-Esteem and Confidence
Children who engage in regular physical exercise are able to see what they are capable of and see progress as they hone their skills, which helps build self-esteem and confidence. Participating in team sports also helps children develop healthy social skills, leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship, and empathy — all of which are skills that are useful throughout life.
The importance of living an active life and starting healthy habits young cannot be understated. When kids learn to enjoy exercise through play at a young age, they are likely to view exercise as fun rather than a chore they have to complete, which helps them be successful and form healthy, long-term habits. For a fun exercise opportunity, take your youngsters to a trampoline park for hours of healthy rebounding. For a trampoline park near Jenison, check out Rebounderz of Grand Rapids!