In order for children to stay healthy, professionals recommend that they participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day. Physical activity has benefits at every age – here are some of the advantages of regular exercise for children:
- Improves brain function
Research indicates that regular exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that focuses on learning and memory. Regular exercise also produces hormones in the brain that stimulates the growth and survival of new brain cells and blood vessels.
Importantly, physical activity results in improved thinking, problem solving, attention skills and learning, ultimately benefiting a child’s performance in school.
- Aids social development
Regular exercise also benefits children by providing opportunities to make friends. Shared physical activity helps to give your son or daughter a sense of belonging and companionship.
Social sport can be a great way for your child to develop a social network, as it introduces your child to others who share a common interest. Over time, shared experiences can build rapport and strengthen the quality of your child’s friendships. It also builds on their emotional and social intelligence.
- Promotes improved mental health
Further, regular exercise promotes a healthier state of mind. A 2019 US study discovered that a mood-regulating chemical called serotonin is produced during exercise, boosting the energy and strength of nerve cells and helping to prevent neurological disorders. Increased levels of serotonin are also associated with improved wellbeing and is thought to reduce the prevalence and risk of depression and anxiety-related disorders.
- Prevents health issues
Another advantage of regular exercise is that it can help to prevent health problems. Consistent physical activity maintains a healthy body weight and blood pressure, lowers the chance of diabetes and heart disease, improves circulation, and decreases the likelihood of chronic illness.
Making any improvement to your child’s physical routine will make a positive impact on your child’s health and wellbeing. If your child does not already participate in exercise, start with something easy, and gradually build up to the recommended daily amount. Encourage physical activity by allowing your child to choose the activities that they enjoy, rewarding participation, and making it fun by including the whole family.
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