You probably know that getting enough physical activity is an important aspect of childhood development. However, you may wonder exactly how much exercise your child needs, and the specific reasons that it is so important for their overall health. Below we will discuss current guidelines surrounding exercise and children, why exercise for children is so important, and some fun summer activities to incorporate physical activity into your kid’s daily routine.

How much exercise do children need?

According to the American Heart Association and Center for Disease Control, children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise on a daily basis.

This daily exercise should incorporate three important types of physical activity, which include endurance, strength, and flexibility.

Why is physical activity important for kids?

There are a variety of reasons that staying physically active is so important for children’s overall physical, mental, and emotional health.

1. Physical benefits of exercise

Physical fitness has many benefits for children’s physical health. Some of these beneficial outcomes include maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, bone strengthening, muscle development, improving coordination and reflexes, and a decreased likelihood of many diseases including diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.

2. Mental benefits of exercise

Increased levels of physical fitness lead to increased oxygen flow to the brain, which can have many mental benefits for children. Some of these include a better ability to focus when it comes to school, improved test performance, and better sleep.

3. Emotional benefits of exercise

Exercise is also commonly associated with feelings of well-being due to its effects on the levels of certain chemicals in your brain. Many experts attribute these positive emotional benefits to serotonin, which has been shown to increase feelings of well-being, decrease symptoms of depression, and improve appetite. Just a few tangible benefits of physical activity on children’s emotions include higher energy levels, calmness in scary situations, an improved self-esteem, and decreased stress levels.

How can you incorporate exercise into your kid’s daily routine?

The idea of getting your kid to be physically active for a minimum of an hour a day may seem intimidating, but you may be surprised at how much exercise they may already be getting through outdoor play! For instance, biking, playing tag, participating in team sports, and dancing are all wonderful forms of exercise.

When it comes to ensuring your child gets exercise that focuses on endurance, strength, and flexibility, try some of the below suggestions:

For Endurance:

  • Team sports like basketball, soccer, and baseball
  • Running, walking, biking, or swimming
  • Games like tag, capture the flag, kickball, and dodgeball

For Strength:

  • Climbing on the playground
  • Wrestling with friends
  • Doing push ups, sit ups, or pull ups in gym class

For Flexibility:

  • Learning yoga
  • Practicing gymnastics
  • Stretching

Keeping your kids physically active doesn’t have to be a chore! Instead, it can be a fun part of your child’s everyday lifestyle as they participate in sports, gym class, and play with friends. Another great way to ensure your child is getting enough exercise? Consider enrolling them in a summer camp that encourages physical fitness and outdoor play!

If you live in the Los Angeles area, we encourage you to check out our Santa Monica summer camp that includes a wide range of physical fitness opportunities including team sports, water sports, and individual sports!


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