Exercise for children imparts many of the same benefits adults reap from exercise. It helps keep weight under control. For a child, being overweight may create many social and psychological problems; other children can be cruel to overweight peers. If this happens children may develop a feeling of not fitting in and shy away from participating in activities or games. This can create a vicious circle of being inactive, gaining weight, social problems and a return to being inactive.
Weight control is only one reason to promote exercise for children. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that even a simple exercise like jumping up and down increases bone mass in children. Strong bone density is important for children and especially as they grow into adulthood.
Specialists in children’s health issues, state that exercise for children also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure, all of which are becoming more common in children. According to the American Heart Association, the buildup of arterial plaque begins in childhood. Encouraging your child to be fit now can save years of heartache and medical problems for them in later years. By starting at a young age, children can develop the lifelong habit of regular exercise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school-age children should include 60 minutes of exercise daily. Younger kids sometimes participate in more activity but in a less structured environment. Balance strength exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups or climbing at the playground, with cardiovascular exercise such as running or rollerblading are good for building a healthy exercise habit.