10 Ways Kids Benefit From Being Active

By: Mollie Shauger | Friday, May 31, 2019 | Child Care

Children involved in a game of tug of war

In the age of technology, kids are spending a lot more time in front of a screen -  more than 7 hours a day on average, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. More time using electronic devices like TVs, computers and phones results in more sedentary time, and less moving around.

It’s recommended that kids ages 6 and older get at least an hour of physical activity a day. One hour isn’t a lot when you add up the time spent walking to school, playing at recess, in gym class, or after school.

Here are 10 reasons why being active is essential for kids’ health: 

1. Reduced risk for diseases.

Regular exercise has been shown to help prevent conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, stroke and diabetes.

2. Healthy weight.

Physical activity can help control weight by burning calories, and reducing the high rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. Obesity can put kids at risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and health conditions like asthma and sleep apnea.

3. Strong bones.

Simple exercises like jumping jacks or jogging can strengthen bones and muscles, which in turn can reduce the risk of injuries.

4. Character development.

Physical play also builds self-confidence by allowing kids to take risks, and even a game of tag could help kids develop empathy for others.

5. Reduced stress.

Exercise can also improve one’s mood by increasing the levels of serotonin and endorphins in the body, and help kids better deal with stress and anxiety. Unmanaged stress can cause muscle tightness and lead to headaches, stomachaches, and other types of discomfort.

6. Better sleep.

Routine exercise can help kids get to sleep and stay asleep longer. It can also reduce the chance of developing sleep disorders.

7. Improved school performance.

Physical play can help boost a child’s attention span and academic performance. More regular activity can also increase energy levels so kids can do better in school and in extracurricular activities, as well as when studying.

8. Developed social skills.

During all kinds of play, kids are learning how to get along with others, resolve conflicts, and form friendships.

9. Anger management.

Exercising can help kids work out their troubles by channeling their anger into the activity.

10. Healthy habits for life.

The earlier a person practices healthy routines like regular exercise, the more likely they are to stick with them throughout their lifetime and encourage others to do the same.

 

The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges offers School Age Child Care programs that incorporate the nationally recognized Healthy U program, which encourages healthy eating and physical activity.

Looking for more ways to keep kids active? Sign up for swim lessons or youth sports programs at your local Y branch. Students in grades six through eight can also sign up for free middle school membership.

 


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