Children are taught from a young age that physical activity has crucial health benefits. Therefore, we instill in them regular exercise is helpful for the body and mind. Unfortunately, childhood obesity has become more common as screen time and watching TV have replaced active playtime.
Encourage kids to stay active by participating in active play, aerobic activity, and even challenging who can do more push-ups.
But do you know how much exercise is good for them? We will discuss why fitness at an early age will set them up for successful healthy living later on in life.
Health Benefits of Staying Physically Active While Young
While everyone will benefit from staying physically active, when kids exercise, they have benefits such as:
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Leaner bodies
- Less risk of becoming overweight
- Decreased risk for type 2 diabetes
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
Along with the many physical benefits, even just one hour of regular physical activity per day will help build confidence, manage depression or anxiety, and increase mental well-being. In addition, when younger children get enough exercise and limit screen time, they can cope with challenges throughout the day much more manageable.
They can meet new people confidently and develop healthy relationships. In addition, active kids learn self-regulation, and one study showed that young children who participated in aerobic activity experienced less disciplinary actions.
Types of Physical Activity for Children
Working out for adults is not the same as working out for children. We want to ensure that we choose age-appropriate activities, so lifting weights likely won’t be appropriate.
For younger children, we should provide them with fun activities of moderate-intensity:
- Playing on the jungle gym
- Walking and running
- Playing tag
- Bodyweight exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, etc.)
- Playing catch with them
- Jumping rope
- Organized sports
Fun activities will encourage them to return to it time and time again. Kids don’t need moderate to vigorous exercise for long periods, just one hour, which is enough to stay active and build muscles for a healthier future. This is recommended for three days a week, each week.
How Much Physical Activity Does a Child Need?
According to the CDC, children from 3-5 years of age should be active for growth and development throughout the day. Beyond that, we want to provide them with more vigorous running and jumping activities to strengthen muscles and increase cardiovascular health.
Kids need exercise. They need activities chosen for them for bone strengthening, muscle strengthening, and fun!
Spending time with their friends and family will increase both physical and mental health now and for their life to tackle physical and emotional challenges that life gives them.
Kids enjoy fun activities, so go outside and play catch with them now and then.
Here’s to your health!
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Dr. Kevin Crawford
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Disclaimer: This information is provided as an educational service only, and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Anyone seeking specific medical advice or assistance should consult his or her doctor or orthopedic surgeon.