Exercise is important at all stages of life. But for kids, it’s imperative. Physical activity reduces the risk of disease, strengthens the body, prevents weight gain, builds confidence, manages self-esteem and improves cognitive skills. These are all fundamental aspects of a child’s development that influence their future success and overall well-being.
Moreover, they make up only a fraction of the benefits that kids can reap from exercise. Now more than ever, younger generations need to stay active to maintain their health. Take the skyrocketing obesity rate among American children and adolescents. According to Statista, it increased from 17.9% in 2013 to 20.6% in 2016.
The numbers are unprecedented. This is why parents need to ensure that their kids develop a positive view of exercise and gain awareness of its importance at an early age. Whether you want to help your child understand the benefits or learn more about them yourself, here are five reasons to stay active.
Like any other muscle, the heart experiences a performance boost when frequently challenged by exercise. This makes it stronger and more efficient. The vital organ also becomes more capable of warding off heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the United States and a major cause among children.
Anyone who has exercised regularly can relate to the feeling of calm, relaxation and happiness experienced afterwards.
A leading theory for why this happens has to do with the release of endorphins, which can be described as a feeling of euphoria. Another study cited the increased production of serotonin, a mood-regulating chemical that boosts nervous system energy and strength, which can even help stave off the onset of neurological disorders.
Social interaction is essential for a child’s development. Many forms of exercise, such as team sports, serve as the perfect environment for kids to come together and learn valuable communication skills. You can also purchase kits with a range of fun physical activities designed for groups. Even a bicycle ride around the neighborhood is great.
Muscles aren’t the only parts of your body that strengthen with exercise. Your bones also improve.
This is helpful for kids, but is even more important as they age. Adults start losing bone mass as early as their 20s, but those who frequently participate in physical activity tend to maintain a greater bone density. This helps to prevent a range of common diseases, including osteoporosis and arthritis.
It’s no secret that kids today are consuming far more sugar than they should. This alone can lead to a myriad of serious health problems. Exercise helps reduce the effect by preventing the accumulation of sugar in blood. This is because it triggers muscles to use that glucose for energy instead of storing it, thus reducing the risk of diseases such as diabetes.
The list can go on and on. Exercise also helps prevent cancer, strengthens the lungs, keeps your arteries clear, improves energy levels and so much more. So be sure to help your kids stay active from a young age.