Why Physical Activity is so Important for Kids
Sending the kids out to play does more than giving them the opportunity to burn off excess energy and give parents a break. There’s a wealth of health effects associated with any type of physical activity and it doesn’t have to be a regimented routine or be sports-based to be beneficial.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 60 minutes of exercise each day, with more intense exercise on three of those days. That can take many forms, from rollerblading, ice skating and skateboarding to swimming, shooting hoops or simply playing in the park.
Heart and Lungs
The heart and lungs continue to develop as children grow. Exercise improves the functioning of both those organs. Strengthening the heart and lungs enables the body to more easily pump oxygenated blood to all areas of the body and increases lung capacity.
Bones and Muscles
Bones and muscles grow and strengthen as children mature and exercise enables that process to occur. With regular exercise, bones become stronger and denser, thereby reducing the risk of injuries. Muscles are better able to withstand any stressors.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
People that get regular amounts of exercise have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels that reduce their potential for cardiac-related problems. Exercise lowers “bad” cholesterol while elevating levels of “good” cholesterol.
Weight Control and Diabetes
People understand that exercise burns calories and is a major part of weight control. It can also be helpful for preventing the development of diabetes since it aids in controlling glucose levels and how the body utilizes energy.
Anxiety and Depression
Exercise stimulates the body to release endorphins. The natural chemical in the body triggers a positive feeling within the brain and is beneficial for relieving stress, anxiety and depression. The same endorphins are also released when a person is injured to reduce the perception of pain. Adults experience the same effect when they get a massage.
When children of any age get exercise through play with other youngsters, it improves their social skills. They learn socially appropriate behavior, how to take turns, and play in groups.
Memory and Cognitive Function
A child’s memory, concentration and ability to learn are all improved when they obtain sufficient exercise. They tend to get better grades and have attendance.
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