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Kids and Exercise

Parenting and Child Care

Sports are a very easy way to pair up kids and exercise, but what happens when a child has no love for organized sports? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a minimum of one hour of exercise each day for school-aged children. With dwindling physical education classes in schools, it can become a challenge for parents to get children the right amount of daily exercise, especially when television, video games, telephones and computers are also competing for the same time frame.

Exercise does not mean sports – at least not in the team, coach, all eyes are on me, competitive way that many children think of. Exercise is about moving your body in a way that will keep it healthy by moving muscles, exercising joints, and building muscle and endurance. Can this be done in a non-team environment? Absolutely! In fact, this doesn’t need to take place in a gym either.

Creative, natural ways pair up kids and exercise sans team sports

  1. Playing tag with their friends – walking/running/jogging.
  2. Riding bikes and roller skating with friends or family members. They can even ride/skate along while parents take an evening stroll.
  3. Organized activities in the form of classes like, martial arts, dance, swim, scuba diving, baton, gymnastics, and wall climbing are all fantastic alternatives to team sports.
  4. Playground. Find or install a playground (taking care to review safe playground installation instructions provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and The National Program for Playground Safety), and let the fun begin.
  5. Take a class with mom or dad. A ballroom dance class for a daughter and dad, or an aerobics class with mom, might be a fun way to incorporate exercise into family bonding time.

Benefits of daily exercise for kids

  1. Studies have proven a direct correlation between regular exercise and a brain more alert and ready to receive information to process. With the right environment, an active lifestyle could help a child get better grades.
  2. Daily exercise will definitely make for a more sound night’s sleep. In younger children it’ll probably result in a good nap too.
  3. Exercise improves a mood. If a child tends to be a little sad, or depressed, exercise is an all-natural mood elevator.
  4. Exercise will help build strong bones and muscles while decreasing the risk of obesity and all of the health issues that come with it like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type II diabetes.

Kids and exercise go together like PB and J. More than likely a child will participate in exercise on a fairly regular basis, while just being a kid. Skipping, running, chasing, climbing, tumbling, etc. are all fine forms of enjoyable exercise. If a child is reluctant to take on a sport activity, don’t force the issue – but make sure there are options presented from time to time as mood, ability, and one’s view of self changes often. It also may encourage involvement help if he/she observes parents living an active daily life too.

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