Summer is coming to an end. The school year is returning and children are back to virtual learning. It is highly important children include regular exercise, especially after hours of virtual stationary learning behind a computer screen all day. Children need at least 60 mins of exercise a day. Increased physical activity helps children build healthy bodies, self-esteem and prevent chronic disease.
Engaging in physical activity or playing in a sport related activity as a child or young adolescent ensures the benefits of physical activity carried through from childhood to adulthood, reducing the risk of chronic disease, illness and injuries. Those who do not participate in physical activity as a child are unlikely to be active as adolescents and adults, they are less competent, confident and motivated to move. It’s not just the physical and mental benefits that makes being active during childhood important, there are also a host of social benefits. Encouraging children to play outdoors burns off excess energy and often involves interaction with other children which promotes active play.
Benefits of a physically active child include:
Develops muscle strength
Improves cardiovascular capacity
Keeps bones strong
Decreases body fat
Maintains a steady, healthy weight
Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety
Increases concentration and alertness
Boosts energy levels
aids in feelings of happiness
Is there a difference between physical activity and exercise? Physical activity is movement that is carried out by the muscles that requires energy. Any movement one does is actually physical activity, such as children playing on a jungle gym, kicking the soccer ball around, children riding their bikes around the neighborhood. Exercise is planned, structured, repetitive and purposeful movement that is intended to improve or maintain physical fitness. Examples of planned exercise are going for a run, laps in a pool, going on a structured long-distance bike ride, or circuit training.
Children who exercise are more likely to maintain an active lifestyle as an adult, but what child wants to consciously ‘exercise’? It’s hard enough for some adults to find the motivation, but as adults, we’re more aware of the importance of moving and the risks when we don’t move our bodies enough. Exercise should be enjoyable at all ages, but it’s especially important that children enjoy moving to build long lasting habits and help them to achieve and maintain optimal physical and mental health. For a healthier, happier child, encourage your child to go play outside, ride their bikes, skateboard, or even kick the ball around the yard. As always, practice your social distancing and stay safe!
Ashley LaMorte is a nationally certified fitness instructor and has been in the fitness industry for many years. Over the years Ashley has gotten the opportunity to instruct group X boot camps at gyms and train private clients from all walks of life, all over the bay area. She now has her own mobile fitness business LaMorte Lift. You can learn more about Ashley at LaMorteLift.com
Ashley LaMorte, Owner / Trainer,AFAA Certified, www.lamortelift.com, (408) 209 9695