With the recent development in technology, the high usage of android devices by children in particular, and the emergence of the 21st-century pandemic restricting the unnecessary movement of people, the world of physical activity and exercise is suffering violence and torture. In order to reignite the zeal for kids to motivate themselves onto physical activity either intrinsically or extrinsically, it is the goal of this health blog to expose some of the benefits of exercise to all and most specifically children.
People who exercise regularly tend to sleep better, often lose weight, have a reduced risk of diabetes and CVD, have more energy, become happier, have an exciting sex life and social wellbeing. And when it comes to kids, the story is quite more interesting. Dearest people, here comes some of the reasons our kids do need to practice exercise.
1) Increase Happiness and decrease stress.
The shutting down of schools in many parts of the world has brought lots of frustration and stress to children. They barely meet their peers as they usually do, creating a social barrier in the physical realm. Allowing these kids to exercise and introducing activities that are fun-oriented do bring smiles to their faces.
There is a strong positive relationship between physical activity and happiness and this arises when individuals, as studies suggest, spend 10 minutes of exercise in one day per week. The more time children spend on Physical activity especially the ones they love or full of fun, the happier they become.
How is this Happiness Brought About?
As children practice physical activity their brains release chemicals like dopamine, adrenaline, endorphins, and endocannabinoid and these guys fight stress, making these kids be happy.
2) Increase Cognition in Kids.
Cognition is the mental ability to assimilate knowledge and understanding via experience, senses, and thought.
Growing up as a little boy, some set of students love playing a lot and among them was one of the brightest or smartest. Some would spend more time studying but little or no time playing soccer. The end result is that the later set of learners would pass, and few of them had a very good score. However, the smartest would always come from the set of students who often play during the break period. Of course, this coincides with the popular old saying “studying without playing makes Jack a dull boy”. Nonetheless, there are some learners who misuse this, spend most of their time playing but little or no time on their studies. Thus playing without studying makes Jack a duller boy.
When kids play or exercise with their peers or parents, their cognitive, social-emotional, and self-regulation skills become amplified. By cognition, these kids think more and possess better memory. Their prosocial brain becomes more developed.
Moreover, when children exercise early in the morning, they are relieved from stress, anxiety, and depression. These make them think and concentrate more and also acquire a better memory.
Why is Cognition said to be increased?
Kids who regularly exercise aerobically usually secrete more growth hormones. These hormones cause the production of new brain cells, increase the size of the hippocampus-the part of the brain responsible for memory and verbal learning, and encourage the secretion of neuroprotective proteins and neurons that make the overall brain health smile.
Studies report that people who exercise more usually have a larger part of the brain that deals with thinking and memory (prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) compared to those who exercise less. According to Dr. Scott McGinnis, individuals who engage in regular exercise of moderate intensity for six to 12 months are linked with a larger volume of these parts of the brain.
3) A decrease in the risk of obesity in children.
Obesity is a metabolic disorder that arises when the amount and size of fat cells increase in one’s body. This happens when the individual’s Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeds 30. BMI is a ratio of one’s weight (or mass) in kg to the square of his/her height in meters.
Presently and everywhere around the globe, obesity is targeting many children and those who spend little or no time on physical activity are more at risk. When children are affected, this is termed childhood obesity-a chronic disease of excess storage of body fat in the adipose tissues of children with subsequent health disorders.
Malina et al. defined physical activity as anybody movement caused by the skeletal muscles leading to an increase in our resting energy expenditure (REE). And any factor that increases the REE eventually leads to weight loss. Your REE is the number of calories your body needs for a day when you are at rest and it makes up about 60 to 70% of your total energy expenditure.
Escalante and his Co also reported that physical activity can bring down low-density lipoproteins (LDL-bad cholesterols) by 35% and triglycerides by 40%, and take up high-density lipoproteins (HDP-good cholesterols) to about 25%. This explains that physical activity reverses the damages caused by childhood obesity.
Exercise, Cravings, and Weight Loss.
Children who exercise more may face a little problem with an appetite which may reduce cravings. A decrease in cravings leads to a decrease in calorie intake and an overall increase in calorie deficit-a great parameter for weight loss.
The misconception of individuals feeling hungrier immediately after exercise leading to the consumption of calorie-rich foods like snacks makes many lose hope in exercise as part of their weight loss goals. However, exercise promotes REE and these kids will keep on burning calories in a considerable high amount, canceling the calorie ingested from the few snacks by individuals after exercise.
Examples of exercises children can do in order to lose weight include climbing stairs or standing, uphill cycling using a bicycle brisk walking, etc.
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4) Strong Muscles and Bones.
Exercise does make bones and muscles in kids stronger and healthier. As children do physical activities like weight-bearing exercises (ice hockey, aerobics, jumping, basketball, walking, tennis, jogging, in-line skating, soccer, volleyball, skipping, climbing stairs, hiking, gymnastic, skiing, etc.), their muscles become stronger and this increases coordination and balance. This makes kids be less prone to injury and they hardly fall too.
The more physical activity a child does, the more increase in their bone mass and the stronger their bones become. Other physical activities like bicycling and swimming improve the general health of the kid but have nothing to do with the strengthening of bones. This is due to the minute support of weight by bones during these physical activities. So by making our lovely children spend more of their time moving or standing and less time sitting, the strength of their bones is guaranteed.
5) Lowers Risks of Developing Diabetes.
Diabetes is a metabolic syndrome that involves the impairment of the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin, leading to an abnormal blood glucose level and distortion of carbs metabolism. Kids who do regular physical activity are likely to experience an increase in the amount of glucose used by their muscles for energy. This will eventually lead to a decrease in their blood glucose level, hence escaping the possibility of becoming diabetic.
When children become engaged in physical activity, their bodies tend to use insulin more appropriately, and also decrease the amount of insulin intake if that child is diabetic.
Exercise also enables the child to regulate a healthy weight and according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), weight loss with increased physical activity is often the first diabetes treatment. And when the height is added in the picture, type 1diabetes in children is well managed. Guardians should however be careful when children with type 1 diabetes are exercising so that they don’t face the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels), especially when exercise causes their insulin level to be too sensitive.
6) Blood Pressure and Physical Activity.
Blood pressure is the force the blood exerts on the walls of its arteries as it circulates around the body. When the force the blood exerts on these walls is high, this condition is known as high blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension. Poor nutrition or diet like foods with much salt, drinks with caffeine, stress, and depression, overweight, little or no exercise, and the taking of some medications can raise the blood pressure of kids. A remedy to this is a regular exercise for 30 to 60 minutes and thrice per day. However, if the child has severe HBP, he should avoid exercise like bodybuilding, strength training, weight, or powerlifting, except his physician says otherwise.
Since exercise brings about happiness and takes away depression, hypertension caused by these factors can easily be catered for when the child undergoes regular exercise.
Data collected from 512 kids with a mean age of 6.5 years and fixed weight revealed that an increase in physical activity lowers blood pressure in kids. As children or individuals spend more time in physical activity, their catecholamine levels and total peripheral resistance drops, insulin sensitivity increases, and there are alterations in vasodilators and vasoconstrictors, which all lead to a decrease in their blood pressure. Catecholamine and insulin resistance generally cause hypertension while vasodilators are medications meant to treat HBP by opening the blood vessels.
Resistance exercise like weight lifting, abdominal crunches, and exercise bands speeds up metabolism in kids, chops down body fat, increase muscle mass, leading to an overall weight loss and thus reducing the risk of hypertension. An increase in an aerobic exercise like walking, swimming, biking, or running from low to moderate lowers heart rate and blood pressure.
7) Improves Sleep in Children.
Based on Dr. Joel Brenner, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, exercise is very instrumental to kids’ mental wellness. Children who exercise more often tend to fall asleep quickly and sleep for a longer period compared to those who spend lesser time on exercise. This in turn improves their judgment, mood, and memory. Moreover, sleeping during the day is usually noticed by children who exercise regularly. Exercise also raises body temperature and after 30 to 90 minutes, this temperature drops, causing the individual to fall asleep.
And according to Dr. Charlene Gamaldo, aerobic exercise induces the secretion of endorphins, a chemical that causes us to stay awake. It is suggested that kids who indulge in aerobic exercise should do so at most 1 hour before sleeping for the activities of endorphins to decline.
You may get more ideas on sleep deprivation and weight loss here.
Apparently, allowing our kids to play or flex up physically does not only make them happy and excited but also takes care of many health disorders. And if these young boys and girls are psychologically and emotionally strong, health-wise superb, their academics and future careers will be well pursued even at this period of anarchy and uncertainty brought forth by this 21st-century pandemic. Are we going to continue ignoring the sedentary lifestyles of our children or are we helpless to help them out? Hey, have you ever heard of FIT2B? This company has amazing and many workouts and fitness courses designed for kids in the comfort of their homes. Please, give it a try and do not forget to leave your opinion concerning this topic or if you have any doubt.