With childhood obesity on the rise and the disappearance of physical education in American schools, exercise for kids is becoming a hot topic. While exercise has always been important for every stage throughout life, it can be more of a struggle today to keep our kids healthy.
Regular physical activity is an indispensable part of a healthy lifestyle at any age, but it’s particularly significant for kids. Exercise for kids doesn’t just help them grow stronger and healthier, but also promotes critical life skills.
Even children as young as three years old are capable of building strong muscles if they take part in physical activities. Kids who exercise regularly typically have higher self-esteem, better academic performance, and stronger social skills, including the ability to work well with others.
Involve Your Kids
Encourage your kids to start taking part in physical activities at a young age. Start small, with walking to school if possible, and gradually increase the level of activity over time.
Work out with your kids or help them find an organized sport that they enjoy. Other outdoor activities such as riding bikes or playing tag are great ways for kids to get exercise while having fun at the same time.
Make regular exercise a family activity, and come up with creative ways to work on fitness together. For example, play catch with a football, practice cartwheels, or dance around the room to upbeat music.
Benefits of Exercise for Kids
Some benefits of exercise for kids are:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Feeling less stressed and developing a healthy outlook on life.
- Sleeping better at night.
- Decreasing the risk of developing type II diabetes.
- Having more energy to complete regular daily activities.
- Building strong muscles and bones.
How Much is Enough?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids get at least an hour of exercise every day. If you’re not sure what types of activities qualify, consider things like running around the playground, chasing after a ball, or riding your bike for at least half an hour.
If keeping track of time is too difficult, encourage your kids to play actively for as long as they can throughout the day. Don’t think that just because your child is in elementary school that exercise is less important. Physical education requirements in most states have decreased over the years, so your child may not be getting as much physical activity in school as you might think.
Sedentary Kids and Obesity
Too many American children don’t get enough physical exercise that they need to stay healthy. Childhood obesity is on the rise, with the number of overweight kids more than doubling in the last 30 years. While many factors, including unhealthy diets, are contributing to the rise in obesity, many experts blame a sedentary lifestyle.
Today’s technology-driven lifestyles, including more time spent in front of the television and computer screens instead of taking part in physical activities, are leading kids to spend more time inactive than ever before. Kids who don’t get enough exercise not only put on excess pounds but may also be more susceptible to developing serious conditions such as high blood pressure.
Childhood obesity causes in America.
- The disappearance of physical education in American schools, lack of time and money to exercise, and fast-food restaurants with toys and playgrounds. Exercise for kids is becoming a hot topic because obesity rates are rising and there aren’t many places kids can play outside anymore.
- America’s food portions make fast food meals seem normal in comparison to the recommended daily calorie requirement for an adult.
- High fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and lack of sleep are also contributing factors that lead to obesity in children.
- On average, American children consume 2000-2500, calories a day. The average daily calorie requirement for an adult male is 2500 and for an adult female, it’s 2200. That means that on average, kids are consuming almost double the daily calorie requirement when they eat fast food.
Healthy Eating Habits for Kids
In addition to participating in regular physical activity, a child needs to eat nutritious foods to maintain good health. In the fast-paced world that we live in, many parents resort to getting meals from fast-food restaurants or cooking pre-packaged, processed meals to save on time.
Other sugary, pre-packaged snacks are being substituted for fresh fruits and vegetables. Kids are drinking juice, soda, or chocolate milk more than plain milk or water. Unhealthy eating not only leads to obesity, lack of energy, and illness, but it also leads to tooth decay. More kids need to get back to enjoying natural, healthy meals, and snacks.
You can help your child develop good exercise habits by doing the following:
- Helping them fit regular physical activity into their schedule: Incorporating physical activity into regular daily tasks, such as walking from the parking lot to the grocery store or opting for the stairs over an elevator.
- Keeping exercise fun so that your child wants to continue doing it.
- Setting a good example by living a healthy lifestyle yourself that includes exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.
- Letting your child be involved in making the decision to play on a sports team or participate in other activities.
- Choosing more often to go out for a walk or play outdoor games as a family rather than sitting home watching a movie or playing video games.