According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about a third of American children aged between 10 and 17 years are obese or overweight. To fight this, fitness for kids is highly encouraged. The American Medical Association recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day. Unfortunately, only 25% of children in the country heed to this advice.
Urbanized living and interaction with technology are some of the factors associated with the historically low rates of physical activity in children. Now, more than ever, parents must realize and educate their children on the importance of fitness to their kids. They need to invest in swings, parallel bars, gymnastic rings, and other accessories that could motivate the young ones to work out.
If you are one of the parents who have been overlooking the importance of physical activity in your children, below are some of the reasons why you should change your mind:
Physically Fit Children Have a Healthy Weight
Childhood obesity is a significant challenge in the United States. Encouraging regular exercise in children, along with a healthy diet can go a long way in reducing the likelihood of your child being obese or overweight.
Fitness Improves Heart Health
The heart is one of the most critical muscles that is exercised when children are physically active. Instead of encouraging your child to sit behind screens for hours playing video games, ask them to go outside and play. This way, their cardiovascular health will improve, and they will be at lower risks of getting diseases such as high blood sugar, childhood diabetes, high cholesterol, and more.
Fitness for Kids Enhances Healthy Growth and Development
By ensuring your child engages in active play during early development, there is a high likelihood that the benefits that come with it will continue to adulthood. This is because children who exercise early in life are more likely to continue working out as adults.
Fitness Improves Flexibility, Balance, Strength, and Coordination
Through exercise and a healthy diet, children gain balance and flexibility, which are critical for everyday life. They also develop muscle strength and coordination, which makes them more active and ensures they accomplish various tasks for themselves.
Physical Fitness Helps In Development of Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills help children accomplish tasks such as feeding, grooming, writing, and other basic things. Gross motor skills enable them to accomplish every day functions such as running, sporting, and walking. Being physically active helps in the fast development of these skills.
Other Reasons Why Fitness In Children Is Important Include:
- Enhances thinking and concentration
- Leads to improve bone strength
- Improves posture
- Promotes relaxation and relieves stress
- Boosts self-esteem and confidence
- Provides opportunities for the development of social skills
How Much Exercising Should Children Engage In?
Below is an outline of how much exercise children of different ages should engage in as recommended by the CDC.
Age 3-5 should be physically active throughout the day. Regular physical activity improves their bone health and ensures they maintain a healthy weight as they grow.
Ages 6-17 years should engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity exercise every day. There are three types of activities they should engage in, including:
- Muscle-strengthening activities: Strength training exercises include push-ups and climbing, and should be done for at least three days a week.
- Aerobic activities: they include running and walking and should be done at least thrice a week.
- Bone-strengthening activities: They include running and jumping and should be done for at least three days a week.