We all know how important exercise is for adults, but what you may not realize is that children should also be getting plenty of exercise. Just about one-third of all American children age 10 to 17 are either overweight or obese. Combine that with the fact that less than 25% of children get at least an hour of moderate intensity physical activity per day, and you can see why our children need more exercise.
The fact that technology can keep our kids entertained for such long periods of time is also challenging. If given the choice, children will often prefer to stay indoors in front of some type of screen. Some schools have also cut physical education from their curriculum, leaving many kids without much motivation to get enough exercise.
Of course, exercise is important for the physical health and well-being of children, but did you know it can also provide plenty of other benefits including academic, social, emotional, and more? Children who are active for at least 60 minutes a day have lower rates of obesity which makes plenty of sense. Some of the other benefits for children who exercise include:
- Higher test scores in math and reading
- Increased brain development
- Improved behavior in and out of the classroom
- Active children are more likely to be active adults
- Increased size of essential brain structures as well as number of neural connections
- Better balance and coordination associated with improved emotional response
- Decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Improved self-image and judgment
Making exercise fun is one of the most important things parents and educators can do. If children enjoy physical activity they are more likely to seek it out on their own. It may also help to get involved yourself which can benefit both you and your children.