As the mother of a seven-year-old, I am passionate about identifying daily habits that can help keep my daughter healthy, happy, and prepare her to achieve her full potential. Like every parent, I want my daughter to do well so that she can have all the opportunities she desires throughout her life. We focus on reading, practicing our math, eating healthy, and most importantly she spends an hour a day at a local gym exercising with a group of friends. But why exercising? Here are ten benefits of a fitness routine for your little:
- Promoting healthy growth and development. These benefits continue into adulthood as kids who exercise are more likely to keep exercising as adults.
- Helping to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet can help to reduce the likelihood of your little being overweight or obese.
- Improves cardiovascular health. The heart is the most important muscle that gets exercised during physical activity. Regular exercise help reduce risk factors of cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
- Improves balance, flexibility, coordination and strength. Balance and coordination skills are necessary for everyday life. Improved muscle strength and flexibility improves a child’s overall health and physical fitness.
- Assists in the development of gross and fine motor skills. Fine motor skills involve the refined use of the muscles in the hand, fingers and thumb which are important in writing, feeding oneself and buttoning a shirt.
- Improves posture. Poor posture in kids can result in fatigue, back and neck pain, and headaches. Kids who have spines that are out of alignment or deformed due to chronic slouching are less developed in physical coordination, and as a result, cognitive coordination.
- Improves concentration and thinking skills. Studies have shown that exercising improves a kids’s academic achievement. Exercise encourages the brain to work at maximum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.
- Boosts confidence and self-esteem. This may be related to exercise and its ability to boost mood, increase positivity, and strengthen self-worth.
- Relieves stress and promotes relaxation. Exercise is a fantastic way to relieve stress and anxiety, as kids can be affected by these problems. It can also improve sleep which is critical for your little’s overall health and well-being.
- Provides opportunities to develop social skills and make friends. Exercising in a group, especially engaging in a team sport, provides a chance for your little to make new friends and work as a team.
So, where do you start? To get your little moving, limit the amount of time they spend watching tv, playing computer or video games or doing other sedentary activities. Replace these activities with other forms of physical activity which can be structured or play-based. Allow your little to choose activities that appeal to them and that are age appropriate. Keeping it fun will allow your little to stay interested and remember to exercise yourself to set a good example!
Still not sure where to begin on your own? Here are some local places that offer kids programs: