The benefits of exercise for children


Most people think that exercise means going to the gym but for children this is not the case, for children this means just being physically active whilst playing games at school, running around at lunch, walking to school and even sport. Exercise raises your heart rate and body temperature and works your muscles too. As well as being active we should also be trying to ensure your children are eating healthy, if not exercise could be less effective.

How much exercise should children be doing?

For Children aged 5 – 18 years old, it is important that they are partaking in aerobics for at least 1 hour a day of activities that will strengthen their muscles and bones. The 1 hour cannot be spread out during the day, if your child is between 5 and 18. Exercising has to be more intense for children between 5 and 18 years, although the intensity of the activity needs to be appropriate, if they work too hard within that one hour this can put them off exercising, risk of getting injured, they may also lack in confidence if they have not achieved what they set out to do because it was too hard.

If your child is aged under 5 and they are able to walk unaided then they should be taking part in at least 3 hours of light exercise a day. For children under the age of 5 exercise time is longer but the 3 hours can be split up throughout the day, the child could complete the 3 hours by doing 30 minutes of energetic physical activities or playing every hour.

The benefits 

There are many benefits of exercising daily, your child won’t just notice the benefits and changes but you will too. Benefits include:

  • Help strengthen their bones and muscles

  • Increases children’s self-confidence and belief

  • Teaches them the importance of staying healthy

  • Helps keep their mental state of mind healthy

  • Your child will be less likely to become overweight

  • Exercise will reduce the risk of your child developing type 2 diabetes

  • Leadership skills

  • Positive behaviour

  • Trying out new sports and activities

  • Learning new skills

  • Positive attitude

Fun exercise games for children of younger ages

1. Headstands: A great activity for your core muscles and to get blood going to the brain. Kids are often naturals.

2. Jump rope: For more fun, pick up a book of jump-rope rhymes.

3. Obstacle course: Create a furniture course in your home or take chalk and make a course outside. Add in specific mental or physical challenges to keep them guessing.

4. Wheelbarrow, crab, and bear-walk races: Holding one of these tough positions gives you a real workout.

5. Animal races: Hop like a bunny or frog; squat and waddle like a duck; and so on.

6. Balloon ball: There are endless ways to play with balloons indoors. Try to keep it off the ground or just play catch. Mix it up with balloon tennis!

7. Follow the leader: Add to the workout with energetic movements such as jumping, stomping, and squatting.

8. Dance party: Turn on the music and dance until everyone is tired.

9. Freeze dance: When the music stops, freeze in your pose and hold it until the music begins again.

10. Jumping jacks: Simple but good for coordination and they get your heart going. A great way to tire out your kids before bed.

Reference: Get Active Sports

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