Everyone knows that exercise provides numerous physical benefits that promote the health and growth of developing children. It is crucial for strengthening their muscles, improving their flexibility, enhancing their agility, helping them maintain a healthy weight, and even keeping their immune system strong.
However, exercise also comes with a host of social and emotional benefits that are just as important. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children above the age of six get at least one hour of physical activity every day, and with good reason. Exercise is one of the easiest and best ways for children to hone their social skills and maintain their emotional health.
Let us explore the lesser-known social and emotional perks that exercise provides to kids.
Exercise can Increase Self-Confidence
When children take part in physical activity, they get to train and strengthen their bodies. Whenever they see an improvement in their physical abilities, it boosts their confidence and belief in themselves. Exercise also provides children with a great opportunity to set and achieve their own goals or to master a particular skill. All these do wonders to a child’s self-esteem. When they play with other children or in a sport teams, the social support and encouragement they receive will also contribute to their self-belief.
Exercise can Enhance Social Skills
The best way for young children to hone their social skills is through physical exercise with other children. When they participate in team sports or organized activities, they learn valuable skills like team work and sportsmanship. It will help them to understand that working together is the best and most effective way to achieve a common goal. They will also be trained to trust in their team mates as well as to share and compromise. A simple game of Frisbee or soccer can teach young children so much more than most people realize. Even losing a game can serve as a lesson. The children will learn how to accept defeat with grace and to comfort each other.
Exercise can Improve Academic Performance
Many studies have found that regular physical exercise is strongly correlated with greater academic performance. This is not surprising as many forms of exercise involve strategic planning, logical thinking and risk assessment. This is especially true for team sports such as basketball or rugby. Children who exercise are also unknowingly giving their brains a good workout. It is only natural that the various mental challenges presented by exercise boost the cognitive skills of children. For example, research has shown that children who take part in school-organized extracurricular physical activities tend to have a higher GPA than their peers who do not take part in such activities.
Exercise Provides Natural Relief for Stress and Anxiety
One of the best things about exercise is that it provides endorphins that relieve stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that a mere half hour of exercise is enough to reduce stress in kids as young as four years old! As the stress experienced by youngsters increase in recent years, it is more important now than ever to provide children with a healthy way to cope with stress. Exercise is best and most natural way. Simply going for a jog or working out at home can help to reduce their daily stress and anxiety. Instilling a healthy habit of exercise in your children from a young age will aid them in their coping abilities in the future.