Did you know? Today, less than half of all US children aged six or seven meet the recommended guideline of one hour of physical activity per day– a direction that was set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With students returning to school and sitting in classrooms for long periods of time, it is more important than ever that they are exercising. Still not convinced? Read on for three significant reasons that you should encourage your kids to apply.
In several studies, children who were active for an hour a day scored higher on math and reading tests than their sedentary counterparts. This hour doesn’t have to be continuous, either– even taking a break to play soccer or another moderately aerobic activity can prove to be helpful. Recreational or ‘rec league’ sports can be a great way to get your kids outside and doing some moderate aerobic exercise.
Physical Activity Builds Bones and Muscles
If you want to set your kids up to have a healthy life, one of the best ways to make that happen is through exercise. Muscles and bones alike become strengthened through the stress of training. Be sure, however, that your child isn’t doing (or only performs in a controlled environment) activities that can leave them with permanent muscular and bone injuries– like cheerleading, soccer, and football. In the event of an injury while exercising, make sure that your kids get the rest that their bones and muscles need to recuperate before they head back out on the field.
The Connection Between Physical and Mental Health
Recreational sports, and exercise in general, are a great way to help your kids make friends and even strengthen their self-confidence and overall mental health! Exercise releases what researchers know as beta-endorphins, which they believe are hundreds of times more potent than morphine. Also released during exercise is the chemical compound serotonin, which is responsible for moods and the circadian sleep cycle. The weight loss and sense of identity that comes with consistent participation in sports can also help your older children, as well as tweens and teenagers, boost their self-confidence and self-worth.