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Why Kids Need Exercise

These are the 11 most important physical and psychological benefits that kids get from engaging in regular exercise.

Image via Unsplash.com/Kelly Sikkema

It's not a newsflash that kids need exercise in their lives. In fact, we're all probably pretty aware of the fact that increased physical activity helps children build healthy bodies and prevent chronic disease. And we also know that helping our kids to love movement sets them up to be stronger and healthier teens and adults.

But, what we may not be as familiar with is the "How" and "Why." 

To help answer these questions -- and to give you and your babysitter or nanny added incentives -- we've listed out the specific physical and psychological benefits that can come from having your child engage in regular exercise.

How Exercise Helps Children’s Physical Development

  • Develops Muscle Strength: Muscle strength helps to reduce children's risk of injury. Lifting things, including their own body weight, keeps them healthy and limber, so they feel well and function optimally.
  • Improves Cardiovascular Capacity: Moving vigorously cultivates a healthy heart and lungs, and helps prevent hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure), which can develop during childhood. Regular physical activity also can substantially lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
  • Keeps Bones Strong: The crucial time to build bones starts before the teen years and lasts until the mid-20s, which is when bones grow to their maximum thickness. You can help your kids prevent the onset of osteoporosis by encouraging them to do weight-bearing activities like jump rope, running games, pivoting, and balancing.
  • Decreases Body Fat: Aerobic activity and strength training help children expend energy (calories), which helps them with weight control and positive body fat distribution.
  • Maintains a Steady, Healthy Weight: Movement and a healthy diet, combined with reducing sedentary behaviors like watching TV and playing computer games help to prevent obesity, which in turn can help prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

How Exercise Helps Children's Psychological Well-Being


Originally written by Anne Etra. Updated by Jerriann Sullivan on June 15, 2017.

* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.

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