The benefits of exercise for children
It is no secret that a physically active child is a healthy child. Physical activity and exercise has been proven to strengthen bones and muscles in children.
It also prevents obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Health professionals recommend that children get at least 1 hour of exercise per day in order to stay healthy.
However, physical benefits are not the only reason why a child needs exercise. Clinical research shows us that there is a strong correlation between a child’s physical activity and their mental/cognitive development.
Research has consistently found that physical activity allows children to- build confidence, manage anxiety, increase self-esteem and concentrate on academic work.
Exercise releases endorphins which makes a child happy, relaxed and more able to concentrate in the classroom.
Here are three benefits of exercise for children:
When children play organized sports or team sports they learn how to share and work together. Working together strengthens a child’s relationships with his or her peers, and enables them to form friendship bonds. Thus, the social aspect of certain physical activities helps to develop a child’s sense of companionship, friendship and teaches them positive values.
According to John J.Ratey MD, who wrote the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, physical activity enables the brain to retain more information. Ratey explains that during physical activity, the brain produces a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor), that builds nerve-cell connections. The stronger these connections become the easier it is for children to understand as well as retain information.
Mental health benefits
When adults feel stressed they go for a jog or to the gym and let off steam, afterwards they feel much better. For children it is the same, the endorphins that are released during physical activity prevent feelings of sadness and anxiety and actually improve their mood.
Overall children who exercise regularly are more likely to perform better in school, gain social skills and be mentally healthy.
By Liesl Silverman
Photo credit: Pexels.com
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