9 Benefits of Exercise for Kids (And How to Make Sure Your Kids Get Enough!)

You hear shrieks of laughter as your children enjoy a game of tag. 

Running around the yard, playing soccer, or completing an obstacle course through the living room are all great examples of fun activities for children to enjoy. 

However, did you know that the exercise children complete in the above activities can change their lives forever? Exercise is essential to help your children grow up healthy and strong. Below, learn 9 benefits of exercise for kids:

  • Improved Physical Health
  • One of the main benefits of exercise for kids is improved physical health. There are many health benefits of exercise including:

    • Heart health
    • Reduced risk of heart disease
    • Reduced risk of cancer
    • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
    • Reduced risk of high blood pressure
    • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
    • And much more! 
  • Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • One in five children in the United States are obese. One of the main contributors to being overweight or obese is not getting enough exercise. Making sure your children get regular exercise is an important part of helping them maintain a healthy weight. Remember, children who are obese are more likely to also be obese as adults. So, start healthy habits early for a bright future!

  • A Healthy Future
  • Research shows that people who are active and participate in exercise as children are more likely to be active adults. In other words, by building exercise habits in your child, you’re setting them up for lifelong health! 

    Furthermore, other research suggests that exercising in childhood is a predictor of professional success later in life.

  • Improved Academic Performance
  • Another benefit of exercise for kids is improved academic performance. When kids spend more time being active throughout the school day in activities such as physical education and recess, they do better in school. The science behind this research shows that physical activity can improve attention spans and increases brain activity

  • Better Sleep
  • Getting good sleep is essential for your child’s health. But, did you know that getting exercise can help your child fall asleep faster? Plus, kids who exercise regularly sleep longer. 

  • Builds Social Skills
  • Kids exercise games like tag, soccer, hide and seek, and more create opportunities for building social skills. Studies have also found that children who exercise regularly have better social skills. 

  • Improves Self-Esteem
  • One important benefit of exercise for kids is improved self-esteem. Research suggests that children who exercise have an increased sense of self-worth.  

  • Lowers Stress and Anxiety
  • Not surprisingly, exercise is also a mood booster in kids. When exercising, the brain releases feel-good hormones and chemicals that naturally fight stress and anxiety. Not only will your child be happier after exercising, but your child will also have fewer mood swings.  

  • Improved Motor Skills
  • From the time children learn to crawl, they are developing motor skills. While exercise for kids generally focuses on gross motor skills, which involve big movements like jumping, balancing, and running, fine motor skills can also be improved through exercise. Fine motor skills, which involve small hand movements like writing or coloring, are essential for success at school. So, through exercise, you’re preparing your child for academic success!

    Now that you know the many benefits of exercise for kids, how can you make sure your child gets enough exercise? School-aged children need 1 hour of exercise every day and younger children should be active throughout the day. Here are some ideas of exercise games for kids and other ways to promote exercise in your home:

    • Spend time outdoors every day. Make it a routine! Whether you send your kids into the backyard or walk to the park after lunch, do it regularly.
    • Play tag as a family.
    • Go for a walk.
    • Offer your child active toys. The Pikler Triangle, Mini Surfer, Balance Beam, and Mini Stepping Stones are just a few examples of wooden toys that will keep your kids active and moving. Balls, sports equipment, and frisbees are some other great options to have available.
    • Join a sports team! Sign your child up for soccer, basketball, baseball, or another fun sport. 
    • Do a fitness video as a family. Youtube is full of fun fitness videos that you can watch and enjoy together. 

    How do you make sure your kids enjoy all of the benefits of exercise? Tell us in the comments below!