Exercise for Children - reduces stress and creates good feelings

Why is exercise for children so important? Children’s bodies are made to move. In fact, all bodies are made to move. Without movement we can become sluggish, lazy, bored, depressed and have a tendency to put on weight.

There are two main reasons why exercise for children is so important for stress relief:

1. When your child is very stressed, she will have lots of stress hormones circulating in her body. These hormones are designed to make her body move, to fight or flee from danger. In modern society that is not usually what happens when your child is stressed. Instead of being able to fight against what is stressing her or run away, she usually has to sit still and put up with it. This leaves the stress hormones circulating in her body with nothing to do except carry on making her feel stressed. Exercise allows her body to use up these hormones and get them out of the body.

2. Exercise for children not only removes stress hormones, it also produces chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These chemicals are what make your child feel good. They produce a sense of elation and they reduce bad feelings and pain.

Therefore, making sure that your child has plenty of opportunities for exercise will not only reduce his stress levels, it will also help him to feel good. This will make it easier for him to deal with the stressful events in his life. Studies done by the US National Centre for Health Statistics have shown that the higher levels of endorphins produced by regular exercise for children means that your child's emotional outlook is more likely to be positive and he will be less anxious than children who do not take exercise.

How to make exercise fun

There are lots of ways to have fun with your children while, at the same time, making sure they get enough exercise. A lot of them provide you with exercise too, so there’s an added bonus! Here are some ideas:

1. Go out on a family bike ride. There are plenty of safe routes available for cycling. Look to see what’s available in your area and make it a part of your weekly routine.

2. Find a fun children’s exercise video and do it together.

3. Play football, basketball, hockey, cricket, etc. If there’s room in your garden, that’s great. If not, go to the nearest park.

4. Buy a rebounder. These are mini trampolines. About three and a half feet in diameter. They provide a fantastic form of exercise because the effect of the exercise your child takes on one is double that of doing the same exercise on the floor. You can buy videos as well which give you a variety of exercise routines to do on the rebounder, so your child will not get bored.

5. If you have a games console, a lot of them now have dance games and mats which you can buy quite cheaply. These provide lots of fun and fairly vigorous exercise at the same time. If you have a Wii, you could invest in a Wii Fit balance board and game which provides a very varied exercise program with lots of incentives built in.

6. Get a trampoline for your garden.

7. Encourage your child to try some after school activities such as dancing, football, martial arts, horse riding, athletics, gymnastics, etc. Some of these activities really don’t cost very much. Also, you’ll often find that your child can do a trial lesson or two before signing up for regular lessons.

8. Play fun games such as catch, hopscotch, French skipping, stuck in the mud, etc.

9. Do yoga. This not only provides good exercise but also gradually disciplines the mind as well. You can either enroll your child in a class, find a teacher who does private lessons (maybe share with friend to make it cheaper), or buy a good children’s yoga video.

10. Go for a walk. Wherever you live, walking can be interesting. There are so many things to see which you miss when you drive everywhere. Also, if you live near enough, make sure that you walk to school rather than driving.

11. Go swimming. If your child does not know how to swim, now is the time to teach him or arrange some lessons. Being able to swim is fun, good exercise for the whole body and could be life saving as well.

However, you decide to get some exercise into your children’s lives, make sure it is fun for them and for you. Otherwise, it will just become a chore and everyone will lose interest. Once exercising becomes a habit you and your children will look forward to it. It will also help to bond you together - I expect you know the old saying:-The family that plays together stays together. So exercise for children has many benefits, not just for them but for you as well. Go and get fit together and it will definitely be enjoyable for all of you.

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