Exercise is important for anyone at any age, but today we look at why exercise is crucial for developing kids. The benefits of exercise are vast and range from keeping an individual at a healthy weight, to reducing the risk of life-threatening illnesses such as diabetes, strokes and even cancer.
Other benefits which have been indicated through research include better moods, improved sleep, increased self-esteem and more. So, let’s see how exercise can have a positive impact on your little one’s health and well-being, and what you can do as a parent to encourage it.
It should be fun!
For young kids the easiest way to get them to do something is to make sure the activity is fun for them to begin with! With exercise this is easy as there is plenty of ways to stay active. From team sports like football, cricket, and rugby (for the older kids) to individual sports like tennis, gymnastics and running which all require being part of a club, finding what your child enjoys first is very important.
For club activities, an added benefit is that they are great for socialising your kids, which is another especially important thing for kids of all ages. This will allow them to meet new friends and hopefully enrich their experience exercising making them want to stay active instead of feeling like it’s a chore.
Being active as kids means being active as adults
One aspect when making sure your kids are active is that they will develop ‘physical literacy’. This is understanding how to move your body and having the muscle memory to move more efficiently, which builds confidence in one’s ability to move, as well as improving their social skills when being active with others, like in team sports.
It has also been found that children who engage in physical activity are much more likely to engage in activity and exercise as an adult. This means the benefits you child will obtain through exercise now will likely continue into their adult life, reducing the risk of illnesses as mentioned before but also injuries.
Aside from improved confidence, reduced risk to illness and injury, better social skills and overall improved quality of life, here are some of the other benefits which regular and structured exercise provides:
- Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
- Helps to relax
- Helps build strong muscles, joints and bones
- Promotes growth and development in kids
- Encourages play outdoors
- Promotes active play (riding a bike, playing catch)
- Helps develop motor skills (more at Hipp on motor skills development through play)
All of these benefits provide a base for a healthy life-style for your kids improving both their physical and mental health overall and providing them with the confidence to want to move, play and be active.
What you need to consider
With all positives there some drawbacks which everyone should watch out for. For example, it is possible for you or your little one to injure themselves when exercising, this is a very common thing, with most injuries being minor and not needing anything except a bit of rest to treat. For certain sports like biking of any kind, it is important to wear the appropriate protective equipment to reduce the risk of injury as much as possible.
Medical conditions my affect or even prevent certain sports from being condoned, so it is wise to check if your child has any medical conditions before letting them take on a sport or rigorous activity.
Supervision is also needed for young kids as the risk of injury is always prevalent, and adults being their will help prevent any mishaps before they happen.