Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Did you know that less than a quarter of American children over the age of 6 get the recommended hour of physical activity each day by the CDC? This is a pretty scary statistic. That means that over ¾ of our children not getting enough exercise.
As a parent, you have the privilege and responsibility to play a part in turning those numbers around. I remember as a child, my mother would send me outside to play every day after school. I wouldn’t come in until supper. I just wanted to come in and watch TV but when I look back, those times outside were some of the best in my childhood.
Of course, times are different now. Children have more electronic distractions and a full school schedule to contend with. Our children are more stressed, eating less healthy, and not getting enough sleep. Add those factors in with the fact that they aren’t getting exercise and you have a recipe for disaster.
You can do a great deal of help for your child by ensuring that they get moving. Regular physical activity does much more than just help your child’s physical health. There are many unexpected benefits of fitness for your kids:
Mental and emotional health- Exercise does a great deal of good for the brain of our young ones. We can see the bad effects of the above statistic of decreased physical activity with the rise of teen suicides and depression. During exercise, our bodies release happy hormones, called endorphins. The regular release of these hormones into our bodies help to alleviate stress and improve self-esteem. Numerous studies have proven the link between physical exercise and brain stimulation.This translates to aiding your child in their schoolwork. Engaging your child in fitness can improve their results in academic achievement. Physical activity improves the brain’s ability to concentrate and retain information.
Get them off electronics- I don’t know a parent that doesn’t struggle with their child’s addiction to electronics. Electronics tend to overstimulate our children and the result leads to children with a very short attention span. ADD and ADHD cases are also on the rise because our children are plopped in front of the television, video consoles, computers, and phones. They literally walk around with their faces in front of a screen most of the day. The cycle must stop. Getting your child moving and engaged in the world around them can wake them up from the technological fog that they are in and improve their concentration skills. Moreover, studies show that the endorphins released during physical exercise help to calm the symptoms of ADHD.
Healthy habits for the future- The obvious benefit of getting our kids in a regular fitness program is their physical health, but did you know that your efforts in doing so now can have positive effects on your child’s health for the rest of their lives? By developing these healthy habits now, your child can be less susceptible to many chronic diseases associated with sedentary lifestyle, including heart disease and diabetes.
How to get them moving:
Lead by example- Children learn by example. When you make fitness a priority, your children are more likely to do the same. Why not try to make a regular family active outing like bike riding, swimming, or hiking?
Educate them- Letting your child know the benefits listed in this article and explaining the pros and cons with them can help them see the value of getting off the couch.
Read another of my blog posts that will provide concrete examples on how to get your kids started with physical activities
Enroll them in a fun youth fitness program.- Making their hourly physical activity enjoyable and in a group of children their age can go a long way to making this shift from sluggish to active easier on both you and the child. #kidsfitness #childrenfitness #benefitsoffitness #kidshealth #fitnessgames #noscreentime #kidsdeservebetter