Creative Child

10 Reasons Why Exercise Will Strengthen Your Child's Mind, Body and Soul

by Deborah Song on Oct 5th, 2017

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  1. Enhances cardiovascular capacity. The heart and lungs responds to exercise by becoming stronger. A healthy heart can prevent heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the United States. Exercise also keeps veins and arteries clear, which can reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke.
  1. Strengthens muscles. Muscle strength helps to reduce injury. Lifting things, even themselves, can keep kids healthy, strong and limber.
  1. Increases bone density. Exercise can help kids prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Weight-bearing activities like jump roping, running, and balancing are especially beneficial for strengthening bones. Bones continue to grow to their maximum thickness until the mid-20s, so a lifelong habit of exercise is sure to strengthen their skeletal frame. 
  1. Prevents obesity. An active lifestyle, coupled with a healthy diet, helps to prevent obesity, which in turn can help prevent a host of problems like Type 2 Diabetes. Children who exercise at least 60 minutes per day demonstrate lower rates of obesity.
  1. Helps fight depression. Exercise has been shown in numerous studies to increase levels of serotonin. This can change your brain chemistry and improve your frame of mind. Low levels have serotonin have been linked with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, aggressive behaviors, and higher pain sensitivity. Aerobic exercises like running and biking are the most likely to boost serotonin. It may be a good reminder for your kids who don’t want to exercise to understand that it may be their lack of serotonin levels that have them wanting to pig out and watch TV in the first place. Sometimes it’s necessary to go against the grain of what you’re feeling to better yourself.

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  1. Sharpens focus. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals that act on the brain as natural tranquilizers. Studies have shown that endorphins improve mental focus and cognitive skills. Greater rates of activity in children have been associated with higher test scores in reading and math, and improved behavior in the classroom. 
  1. Improves coordination. Frequent activities requiring a high degree of balance and coordination have been associated with improved response.
  1. Boosts energy. Movement stimulates attention and energy levels through improved circulation and blood flow. This helps your body deliver more oxygen and essential nutrients to your tissues. Not only will you feel better but you’re child will be more efficient throughout the day.
  1. Keeps mood swings in check. Exercise can help calm kids down and stabilize their mood swings. Specifically, exercise changes where the brain directs its resources, from areas of the brain that are involved in worrying, for example, toward areas that are more involved in coordination and focus. And aerobic exercise in particular can alter brain chemistry and levels of certain neurotransmitters that might help improve an individual’s self-regulation. In short, exercise enables your child to control his moods better. And when they can do this, they can function better in the classroom and in life.
  1. Gives a sense of accomplishment. Exercise for kids comes in many forms. Even increasing the count of how many times a kid can jump rope, hula hoop, or do pull-ups can give kids a sense of accomplishment.

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Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. An active life for a child doesn’t require a gym membership. Kids just need to be outdoors, running around, playing tag, jump roping, or riding their bike for at least 60 minutes a day. Check with your child’s school schedule to see how much more you should supplement at home. The more active a child is the better. But aim for at least 60 minutes a day. And keep in mind that one of the best ways to help our children be more active is to make it a habit and something they do together with their families. Show kids that moving can be fun, that it makes them feel good and that it strengthens the mind, body, soul – and family bond as well.

Deborah Song is a Los Angeles-based writer and the mother of two girls. She received her master’s in journalism from New York University and writes about parenting, business and kid entrepreneurship. You can read more of her work at lemonadepost.com.

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