Kids and teens are sitting around a lot more than they used to. They spend hours every day in front of a screen looking at a variety of media. Too much screen time and not enough physical activity add to the problem of childhood obesity. Regular physical exercise helps your child develop in a range of ways. Not only does it help their physical health, it also helps improve brain function and your child’s emotional wellbeing. Regular physical activity helps develop child’s movement skills.
- While it may not seem obvious, physical activity plays an important role in developing the brain and supporting essential mental functions. Research shows that regular moderate intensity exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with learning and memory. Exercise also helps release growth factors, chemicals in the brain that affect the growth and survival of new brain cells as well as blood vessels in the area.
- Exercise leads to improved motor skills better thinking and problemsolving, stronger attention skills and improved learning. Not surprisingly, these all combine to beneﬁ t school performance. In fact, even the simple act of playing outside with friends, setting non-academic goals and seeing progress can help the brain refocus when it comes time for school work.
- When child sees how fun it is to be able to dance, jump, walk, run, stretch and play they are more likely to want to continue enjoying being active throughout their life. Seeing and appreciating what their body can do, rather than how it looks, is a great way for a child to build a positive body image. It is important to help develop this awareness as early as possible.
- Endurance develops when kids regularly get aerobic activity. During aerobic exercise, large muscles are moving, the heart beats faster and a person breathes harder. Aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body's ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.
- Stretching exercises help improve ﬂexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Kids get chances every day to stretch when they reach for a toy, practice a split or do a cartwheel.