I recently summarized the findings of a number of medical and academic studies outlining the benefits of exercise for children. While the health benefits are widely documented, more and more research is focusing on the emotional, behavioral, and academic benefits.
What's the problem?
Exercise is good. What's the issue? The problem is that traditionally, kids received a significant amount of their physical activity in school. Budget cuts and curriculum demands, however, have resulted in significant reductions in PE, recess and after-school programs. The problem is exacerbated at home, where we've seen a massive increase in sedentary activities, like TV viewing, video games, mobile devices, and the Internet.
As more and more research confirms the importance of regular exercise for children, our kids are actually getting less and less.
What are the recommendations for kids' fitness?
Dr. William J. Anderst is a specialist in biomechanics (human movement) at the University of Pittsburgh and an advisor to our company. He explains that the American Academy of Pediatrics (among other groups) recommends that youth fitness include the following four components:
1. Aerobic activity
2. Muscle strengthening
3. Bone strengthening
How can we do it?
Here are some ways to help get your kids involved in physical activity and exercise:
? Organized sports -- apart from the physical fitness benefits of participating in an organized sport, this can also help your child develop or improve social skills and teamwork. Recent studies suggest other unexpected benefits, such as the fact that children involved in sports are less likely to smoke or drink alcohol as they move into adolescence.
? Informal sports -- including pickup games, playing catch, or kicking a soccer ball provide many of the same benefits as mentioned above. Informal sports allow children to participate in a less-stressed environment while developing skills.
? Actual exercise -- whether it's aerobic, strength training, or flexibility training, exposing kids to an exercise routine at an early age can help them develop lifelong habits of daily physical activity. They'll also learn to take responsibility for their health and wellness.
? Biking -- this is a great form of physical activity that the whole family can do together. Whether it's strolling down your street or riding on a trail, biking is a highly effective workout. Not to mention, biking is great for the environment, too.
? Swimming -- factor in buoyancy, resistance, and the cooling effects of water and you have another total body workout!
? Dance or Yoga -- these can provide all the necessary components for kids and also be fun. They offer great options for kids who don't like traditional sports or exercise.
Inclement weather provides an additional set of challenges to parents and teachers alike. Fortunately, there are a growing number of indoor solutions to help on these days. Our program, Adventure to Fitness, was specifically designed as a low-cost, turnkey solution that kids can use regardless of weather conditions, space, or their physical and athletic abilities. It has been the fastest-growing solution in the U.S., now adopted by over 21,000 schools.
Please pass along our program to your school or child's teacher. If you elect to purchase a home subscription, our Rewards Program gives 10% of the proceeds back to your child's school for their purchases.