Do Children Need to Exercise?

Yes. It’s a big mistake to think that only adults need to exercise. Some parents don’t encourage their children to go outside and play, thinking that exercise is something they need to do when they’re already grown up. But that’s not the case. Physical activity is important in the proper development of a child. Starting early with exercise also builds healthy habits that will be carried on later in life. Also, remember that in the United States, more than 20 million children under the age of 5 are overweight. Thirty percent of this is suffering from obesity. Here are more reasons why your kid should stop playing that video game and start getting active.

Bone and Muscle Strengthening
As many of us already know, exercise strengthens the bones and muscles. It doesn’t matter what age you’re exercising, physical activity can prevent illnesses such as osteoporosis as well as various forms of injuries. There are even some studies that point out that exercise is more essential in bone strength than calcium.

Weight Management
Weight management has two components: exercise and nutrition. As a parent, along with feeding your child with healthy food, it’s also a must to ensure that he gets the right amount of exercise everyday in order for him to maintain the correct weight. Having proper weight is not all about physical appearance issues. More importantly, it’s about health since being overweight makes you vulnerable to a number of health problems. High blood pressure and heart diseases are not adults-only diseases anymore. Even kids can suffer from these if they are overweight and lead sedentary lifestyle.

Health Risk Reduction
Speaking of vulnerability to health problems, exercise can do so much in preventing a wide range of ailments including heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Kids who are physically active are also less prone to injuries since they have stronger muscles and bones, greater range of motion, and better endurance.

Stress Reduction
Adults are not the only ones who get stressed a lot. So do the kids. In between homework, household chores, family activities, social activities, extracurricular recreation, and pressures of being young, a child can get overly stressed on a regular basis. Exercise can help combat that since this releases endorphins, which are brain chemicals that give the mood a powerful boost, leaving a child feeling happy and positive.

Self-Esteem Building
It’s hard to be confident in the midst of peer pressure, especially if you’re a teenager. It is during this time that they are filled with self-doubt and insecurities. Getting regular exercise is beneficial in terms of keeping your child fit and healthy, thus building self-confidence along the way. As mentioned earlier, it also boosts the mood so your child will feel more positive not only about him/herself but about life in general.

To answer the question once more, yes, children do need to exercise. They should do it on a regular basis without feeling like it’s a chore. Have your kid engage in fun physical activities that he/she would enjoy like sports, hiking or dancing.

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