Nowadays, parents are facing a real challenge in helping their children to have healthy growth and development. Specialists have been able to notice a warning rise in the numbers of kids suffering from obesity starting from very young ages. Sedentary behaviors in children are mostly promoted by the development of technology and the rise of the internet. Before the digital revolution, kids had to go outside of the house to find fun activities which promoted physical activity. However, in the last several years, more and more parents are worried about the numerous hours their children spend sitting in front of the television or their smartphones and playing video games. The lack of physical activity contributes to health risks both to their physical and mental wellbeing.
The trouble is that health-related behaviors and disease risks factors tend to track from childhood to adulthood. Kids who have healthy eating and exercise habits during childhood are more likely to continue to practice them as adults too. That is why the promotion of health-enhancing behaviors must start early in life. Exercise is a vital component of any child’s development as it lays the foundations for a healthy life. Read below the relationship between physical activity and healthy growth and development of children.
Healthy Growth and Development
There are several proofs that physical activity has both direct and indirect positive health effects. First of all, as child obesity seems to become an increasing problem, it should be mentioned that exercising combined with a healthy diet is the best way to reduce the likelihood of children being overweight. Also, regular exercising is crucial for maintaining good health. Yet, for kids who are still in the development process, exercising is essential to boost healthy growth. The heart is the most essential muscle that gets exercised during physical activity. Regular exercising help children and adults to reduce risk factors that could lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.
The healthy development of gross motor skills is another benefit that children can get from exercising. As they enable a child to perform everyday functions such as walking or running, skills such as flexibility, coordination, balance, and strength are essential for a child’s overall physical health. Aside from providing general physical benefits for a child’s growth, exercising also helps improving brain functions that are linked to better school performance.
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Helping children to build self-confidence and esteem is an important task of a parent. A person who has a positive self-image will be able to focus on their strengths to build a bright future path. For kids, self-esteem is often linked with the feeling of acceptance, appreciation, believe in themselves, and feel proud of what they can do. Feeling confident and having high self-esteem help kids develop into happy and productive adults. There is a strong correlation between physical activity and self-esteem in children. Exercising is linked to building confidence as it boosts a positive mood, increasing positivity and by strengthening self-worthiness. Kids who are good in sports also receive recognition and admiration from other kids their age. They tend to be perceived as leaders by their friends which helps them feel important and be confident in their own strengths.
Even though it may not seem obvious, physical activity also plays an essential role in boosting healthy emotional development in children. Aside from the fact that it helps to develop the brain and supporting the essential mental functions, it also promotes relaxation and relieves stress. Brain functions such as better thinking, problem-solving, stronger attention skills, and improved learning are significantly improved by exercising. There is no doubt that all these combined lead to better academic performance.
Another warning increasing problem specialists have been noticed is depression and anxiety in kids starting from early childhood. There have been suggested changing trends in the attitudes of teens and children such as experiencing symptoms of depression like feeling hopeless or having low self-esteem. Physical activity can help with maintaining mental wellbeing. When exercising, our brains release chemicals called endorphins that help to improve mood and energy levels. Exercising is an amazing stress relief natural method which can reduce anxiety and depression in children by boosting a positive mood and a sense of accomplishment.
Kids are often very sociable and love meeting new people. However, kids suffering from social anxiety find it extremely hard to make friends. Yet, physical activity can give them a sense and belonging and companionship. Practicing a sport together with other kids can help by relieving some of the social pressure. The act of sharing, communicating with others and being part of a team will help kids to develop strong soft and social skills that will make them grow into well-shaped adults.
How to get kids to be active?
Getting your children to move may sound like a challenge. Especially with technological advancements, they might refuse giving up on their devices to get outside and exercise. However, you should start with setting limits of how much time your children spend in front of the television or playing on their electronic devices. Also, play-based activities for children are important sources of exercising that will make your child be active without even realizing it. Fun activities that involve physical activity will seem like a playday for your child. Indoor obstacle course is a fun way to get your child moving and help them put their focus, problem-solving, and strength to test. Exercises such as jumping, vaulting, swinging, and free run will ensure full body exercising promoting physical health while having fun with kids their age.
The evidence for the health benefits of physical activity is irrefutable. Exercising has several physical and psychosocial outcomes and improvements for the healthy development and growth of children. Unstructured physical activity or free play can confer unique benefits to the health of a child. It also helps kids to have a healthy perception of what having a healthy lifestyle looks like from a very young age.