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Sports and Exercise

Sports and Exercise
Posted on June 9, 2016 by CHS

Why Your Child Needs Exercise

Daily exercise is one of the key factors to a child’s well-being — physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is crucial for preventing illness, building strength, and decreasing risk of obesity and disease. 

It can be easy to keep children entertained when you’re busy by letting them watch TV, play video games, and use smart phones. But encouraging an active lifestyle will not only keep kids busy, it will instill healthy habits to last a lifetime. 

Benefits of exercise include:

  • Builds strong bones
  • Improves muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Increases self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Decreases risk of diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Increases energy and improves sleep
  • Enhances memory and brain function
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces depression, anxiety, and improves mood

It is recommended that children two years of age and older get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every day, and 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity three to four times each week. Ideal activities and sports are ones that build strength, endurance, and flexibility. 

Play Sports

Playing sports is a great way to stay active while teaching children important values. Sports help to develop social skills, build self-confidence, improve academic success, and teach children to push themselves and learn to accept constructive criticism.  

Allow your child to try a variety of activities to determine what they are interested in. They may enjoy the camaraderie and competition of team sports like baseball, or may do better with individual activities like swimming or martial arts. Encourage participation, but don’t ever force a child to play a sport.

Tips for Physical Activity by Age

2-3 Years

  • Developmental Abilities: Like to explore their world through active play
  • Try: Unstructured play such as running, climbing, swinging, or playing in a sandbox

4-5 Years

  • Developmental Abilities: More coordinated and can participate in some organized games
  • Try: Playing with balls, hoops, bicycles with training wheels, or gymnastics

6-12 Years

  • Developmental Abilities: Can quickly learn new skills
  • Try: Organized, competitive sports such as soccer, or non-competitive activities such as yoga or dance

Fun and Free Activities:

Don’t forget to spend time together as a family, doing fun activities that all children can enjoy together. Staying active will help you bond and set an example for a healthy lifestyle. 

Try these:

  • Play catch 
  • Throw a Frisbee
  • Play hide-and-seek
  • Go on a nature hike
  • Take a bike ride
  • Play at your neighborhood playground or park
  • Visit the beach, lake, or river
  • Go camping
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Have an active game night with games like Twister or Charades 

For more information on children and exercise, read our Exercise brochure, or listen to the Exercise podcast

 

Sources:
https://www.takethemagicstep.com/training-exercise/families/benefits-of-exercise-for-children/ 

Resources:
http://healthfinder.gov/nho/maytoolkit.aspx
http://www.shapeamerica.org/events/pesportweek/

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