In today’s world there is so much that limits our ability to get outside and exercise. Our children are growing up in an era where technology plays a huge role in how our days are planned. We often see parents letting their child play on an iPad to keep them occupied. Today, children spend more time in front of TV’s, playing computer games, and nestled in a corner playing on tablets. We also don’t have the ability to let our children run around in the streets like we used to. So the questions is, how can we get our children to be more active? And why is it better for them to do exercise rather than stay indoors?
Let’s consider the benefits of exercise for children:
- Improves strength of muscles and bones
For children to grow, they need to have strong joints, muscles and bones. Muscles grow when stress is applied to them and the body is able to adapt to the change in strength. The more our children get moving, the more tensile force is applied to each structure, and therefore the more adaption and growth occurs. Having your child strong and healthy will also set him/her up for later in life as the body has a good base to start from and your child can stay strong for many years to come.
- Social skills
Looking at a computer screen or TV does not help your child master the ability to interact with other children. Studies have seen that having children take part in team sports helps them develop better social skills, learns team dynamics and can gain the ability to deal with confrontation, communicate, stand up for themselves and learn how to be a part of a team.
- Improves energy levels
This sounds counter intuitive, surely if you are exerting yourself you would have less energy? This is not the case in children. By expending energy on a continuous basis, like taking part in a regular form of exercise, helps to increase the overall energy levels in the long run. Similarly, if your child is inactive, he/she has a higher risk of suffering from fatigue, and ultimately can be at a higher risk of suffering from other fatigue related diseases. So it’s a great idea to let them get moving as they will feel far better for it later on.
- Controls weight
There is an abundance of preservatives, sugar and high fatty foods available to our children these days, and this is causing an increase in childhood obesity and diabetes. Exercise has numerous benefits, and helping to control weight or lose weight is one of them. It can also help to reduce blood pressure, reduce blood glucose levels, and therefore reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Getting your children active does not mean you have to get them running for 30 minutes every day. Exercise for children can be in the form of play time, or helping do chores around the house, taking part in swimming lessons or going to the park to run around. As they get older, team sports become more useful for structure and team building, or joining a dance class for more interaction.
Your children may not know what the benefits of them taking time out to play are now, but later in life they will thank you for all the health and wellness tools that you have given them, and that’s far more important than a score they get on a game that they play indoors.