With childhood obesity on the rise it’s more important than ever to ensure children remain active. The NHS recommends that children ages 5 – 18 years engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – this could include activities such as cycling, swimming, running, rugby and tennis.
Kids have more opportunity to interact with their peers which helps them develop their interpersonal skills – this is particularly true in team sports.
Studies have shown that active children have better focus, better working memories and better problem solving skills than less active children. (Source: Institute of Medicine, USA.)
Exercise releases endorphins and enhances emotional well-being. Exercise also decreases anxiety, reduces depression, and improves mood and outlook in children.
With children always picking up colds at school, exercise will help the body’s ability to fight illness and become less prone to colds, allergies and diseases.
Children are less likely to become overweight if they are physically active. This in turn will help improve their self-esteem and body image.
Being active throughout the day ensures your child sleeps better at night. It will also make bedtime routines easier if your child is sleepy!
Plenty of physical activity will help strengthen areas of the skeleton that bear the most weight such as the arms and hips, which need to be strong. Walking, running and dancing are all great for building strong bones.
Exercise improves gross motor skills which require strong muscles, balance and coordination.
Kids who exercise regularly at an early age develop healthy habits into adulthood. Let your child choose a sport they enjoy and they’ll hopefully stick with it!
Exercise time can double up as quality family time! Brainstorm fun active outings with your family so it’s an enjoyable activity everyone looks forward to!
Dr. Alexandra Bodden is a licenced psychologist in both Cayman and Maryland, USA.
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