Why Exercise is so Important for Your Children
Exercise is vitally important for everyone and that goes for children as much as adults. Simply put, humans today have much easier lives than our counterparts did a scant hundred years ago. We don’t need to forage for food, we don’t need to hunt and, unless you consider making a quick trip to the corner shop exercise, there are very few things that we need that would involve any type of strenuous activity to get them.
One needs only to take a look around them to see what the effects of our easy lifestyle is having on our children. There is an obesity epidemic in this country the likes of which humans have never seen and more and more it is affecting our children. The average child spends 6 hours a day sitting in front of either the TV or the computer, staring blankly at it while doing absolutely nothing physical.
The problem is that, as children, there is so much energy in their body that needs to be burned up that, if they don’t get some type of decent exercise every day, the extra fats, carbohydrates and sugars will begin to negatively affect their bodies and their health.
Indeed, physical activity has a tremendous amount of vital benefits for children including but not limited to;
· Burning off calories rather than storing them in the body as fat.
· Helping children maintain a proper weight.
· Reducing the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes.
· Helping keep blood sugar levels in a normal range and balanced.
· Keeping their blood pressure normal and their cholesterol levels normal as well.
· Strengthening their bones, muscles and joints.
· Increasing their strength and endurance and training their muscles for a lifetime of use.
· Relieving mental stress, improving their sleep and reducing anxiety.
· Boosting their self-esteem and confidence about themselves, their body and their outward appearance.
Even infants and babies need exercise. Letting them crawl all over the floor is an excellent idea and is also vital for allowing the normal curvature of the neck (cervical vertebrae) and low back (lumbar vertebrae) to form. The fact is, we aren’t born with a neck and low back curve but must form it ourselves when crawling. Thus, letting your child crawl as often and as long as possible is truly vital to their long-term health. As a child gets older the need for physical activity and exercise becomes much more vital, especially when you consider that a lot of the food they will be eating is high in sugar and fat.
One of the best ways to get your children to exercise is to be a good role model yourself. Studies have found that families who exercise together tend to be less overweight and also form closer long-term bonds. Encouraging your child to get involved in team sports is also a great idea although some kids may not be overly enthused about this so try not to pressure them too much. There are certainly plenty of activities that children can do on their own like riding a bicycle, skipping rope and so forth.
Group activities that don’t need to be done as a team but are still a lot of fun are a great idea as well, including dancing, bowling, running with the family dog, swimming, playing on a climbing frame and so forth. The fact is that there are so many things that a child can do will as far as physical activity is concerned that finding something through a little bit of trial and error shouldn’t be a whole lot of work or take a whole lot of time.
Today there are even video games that actually involve physical activity, albeit at a relatively low level. Dancing games, bowling, tennis, aerobics and so forth allow the child who is playing the video game to actually use a hand-held controller and their body to play which, even though it’s not a huge amount of exercise, is certainly better than nothing. You can also encourage your child to do things while they are watching regular TV (especially during commercial breaks) like running around the house or star jumps.
If you’re a parent of super active young boys (or super active young girls) you should definitely consider playing outdoors with them. Football, cricket, rugby, swimming and many other activities can be done as a family as well as wrestling, all of which will help themstay fit, burn off that extra energy and bring you closer as a family. We can’t think of anything much better than that for you and for your children.
In the end a child who exercises will be healthier, feel better about themself and be fitter as an adult than one that doesn’t. The habits that they form as children will help them to be healthier adults as well, all of which make getting the correct amount of exercise a vital part of their childhood.