As parents we want to encourage our children to make physical fitness and healthy activity a daily priority. Like a healthy diet, adequate sleep and good hygiene, physical activity should be a routine part of their daily lives.
All the experts agree that regular physical activity has significant health benefits. But just what are they and how can they benefit my child?
Here are just a few of the many benefits of physical fitness:
· Increased cardiovascular health
· Better muscle strength and endurance
· Flexibility
· Weight maintenance
· Stress management
Cardiovascular Health: Physical exertion or aerobic activity helps to make the heart function more efficiently to reduce the likelihood of high blood pressure and the build up of excess fat deposits in the arteries. Believe it or not heart disease and high cholesterol have been detected in children as young as 3!
Muscle Strength and Endurance: Strong muscles help prevent injuries and protect the joints in addition to improving your child’s overall endurance and general fitness level. Exercise that builds core muscle strength not only improves endurance and joint stability but increases lung capacity. Martial arts training is an excellent way to help your child build overall strength and endurance.
Flexibility: Fitness activities that encourage your child to bend and twist help them become more agile and enable their bodies to move through a full range of motions without injuring their joints or muscles or over exerting themselves. Exercise routines like those practiced in Martial arts classes and school fitness programs can help.
Weight Maintenance: Physically fit children have normal amounts of body fat, a much lower incidence of diabetes, faster metabolism and a more balanced appetite. Encouraging your child to balance sedentary pursuits with physical activities will help them develop lifelong healthy habits.
Stress Management: As parents we deal with multiple stresses every day, often unconsciously. It would rarely occur to us that our child may experience stress, or that they are ill equipped to recognize or deal with it. You can help your child to recognize symptoms of stress such as headaches, loss of appetite, and muscle tightness and alleviate it with physical activity.
Physical fitness can be fun and easy to achieve for the whole family. The benefits of physical fitness and improved health can’t be under estimated. As parents we can be effective role models for our children. Plan some family activities such as bicycling, walking, and sports such as martial arts training and start your family on the path to long term health and fitness.