It’s official, kids are getting lazier when it comes to physical exercise. There are a number of factors that can be blamed for this – diet, lack of proper exercise, too much screen time, over reliance on technology, busier and possibly lazier parents. The result is that obesity among children is becoming a big problem so let’s look at the reasons and then importance of exercise.
Screen time / electronics
Of course diet and junk food is massively to blame for the rise in obesity but there is a less obvious problem out there that’s having a big physical and mental effect. “Wired and tired.” syndrome which was covered by phycology today. To put it simply, children are becoming more agitated but exhausted and screen time is the culprit. Limiting screen time at night is also one of out top sleep tips.
Children’s brains are much more sensitive to electronics use than most of us realise. In fact, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take much electronic stimulation to throw a sensitive and still-developing brain off track. Also, many parents mistakenly believe that interactive screen-time—Internet or social media use, texting, emailing, and gaming—isn’t harmful, especially compared to passive screen time like watching TV.
The importance of Exercise for Children
Staying healthy and fit has always been a major benefactor in our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, not to mention improving life expectancy and reducing the likelihood of chronic disease. For children, exercise and playing sport is even more important.
Physical health and development
Regular physical activity is vital for a child’s development, exercise helps develop their movement skills, co ordination, helps bones and builds a healthy heart and stronger muscles. Physical activity also helps your child keep a healthy and normal bodyweight
Benefits of activity for the brain
While it may not seem as obvious, physical activity plays an important role in developing the brain and supporting essential mental functions.
Research shows that regular moderate intensity exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with learning and memory. Exercise also helps release growth factors, chemicals in the brain that affect the growth and survival of new brain cells as well as blood vessels in the area.
Exercise leads to improved motor skills (such as hand-eye co-ordination), better thinking and problem-solving, stronger attention skills and improved learning. Not surprisingly, these all combine to benefit school performance.
Emotional and mental health
Physical activity can help greatly with maintaining mental wellbeing. The endorphins that the brain releases during exercise help to improve mood, energy levels and even sleep. Together, these positive effects help to improve self-confidence and resilience.
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