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Exercise is beneficial to children in many different ways, both mentally and physically. It strengthens the mind and body and provides kids with more energy so they can actively participate in life. Whether they’re playing kickball in the park or hopscotch on the driveway, it’s important to get kids moving so they get adequate exercise and stay healthy.
Getting enough exercise for children is more important today than ever before. The past 20 years have shown a dramatic increase in the number of obese children in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2011, 17 percent of children ages 2 to 19 were obese. Computers, television, video games, and cellphones are a few examples of modern technological devices that have helped to keep children indoors and inactive. Yet technology can now also be used to get children moving. There are video games that actually involve the gamer in aerobic exercise as well as TV shows that get the viewer exercising along with them.
Children need to perform different types of exercise in order to be physically fit just as adults do. Aerobic exercise is a type of exercise that gets the heart pumping. It will typically make kids sweat and breathe faster. It is excellent for strengthening the heart. Examples of aerobic exercise include swimming, biking, volleyball, roller-blading, and even walking quickly. A fun-filled game of tag can be a great way for kids to get aerobic exercise. Another important type of exercise is muscle strengthening. Exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and pull-ups make children’s bodies stronger. Strength training can even help kids to make their bodies a little bigger. Tug-of-war is an excellent and fun game that will help children build muscle and make themselves stronger. Flexibility is another important part of physical health. It is important for a child to be able to freely move their arms and legs without feeling tightness or pain. Ballet, martial arts, and yoga are all types of exercise that will help to increase flexibility. Doctors recommend that children exercise for at least 60 minutes per day. The majority of the 60 minutes should involve aerobic exercise: They need to truly get their hearts pumping. But each type of exercise should be part of a child’s daily exercise at least three times per week.
Exercise can make kids (and adults) feel happier by releasing the “feel good” chemicals in our bodies known as endorphins. When endorphins are released, people feel less pain, stress, and frustration. Other contributions to good health that exercise can provide include reducing fat, increasing self-esteem, and building physical endurance. The stronger and healthier children are, both mentally and physically, the better they will be able to deal with everyday life and the better their odds will be of living a long, happy, and healthy life.
If fitness is fun, children will be more likely participate in it, which is why it’s crucial for parents and teachers to find ways to make getting a workout not feel like work. Use these ideas for games and activities to get creative with fitness and make it fun for your children: