Most of us at CFCOA don’t have to be told that exercise is good for us. We get it. If I tell my 8:00 a.m. Saturday class that daily exercise is important, I’m pretty much preaching to the CrossFit choir. But what about for kids? Is exercise as important for them as it is for us?
In a word: absolutely.
The World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association are just a handful of prestigious organizations which have published studies about the benefits of regular exercise for children.
Sadly, according to the World Health Organization, “80 percent of young people globally may not be getting enough exercise.” We see this here in California, certainly. Budget cuts have slashed away at phys ed programs, despite mounds of evidence showing that exercise provides physical, psychological, and even social benefits for both children and teenagers.
With childhood obesity on the rise, due mostly to poor eating habits, exercise is vital to our children’s wellbeing. Here’s why:
Exercise is a key determinant of energy expenditure, which makes it fundamental to energy balance and weight control. It “reduces risk for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and has substantial benefits for many conditions, not only those associated with obesity,” such as:
• Stronger muscles
• Increased mobility
• Cardiovascular health
• Better sleep
• Decreased risk of high blood pressure
• Less likelihood of injury
• Lower levels of “bad” (HDL) cholesterol
According to studies by the NASPE and Centers for Disease Control, “attending physical education classes is directly related to better academic performance and attitude toward school.”
“It has also been suggested that physically active young people more readily adopt other healthy behaviors (e.g. avoidance of tobacco, alcohol and drug use) and demonstrate higher academic performance at school.”
Other psychological benefits include:
• Release in endorphins
• Improved self esteem
• Decrease in depressive symptoms
The World Health Organization states that participation in exercise “can assist in the social development of (children) by providing opportunities for self-expression, building self-confidence, social interaction and integration.”
Other psychosocial benefits include:
• Appreciation for sports in general
We at CFCOA support exercise for children and teenagers, and want to welcome your families into our lifestyle and community.
Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Vol. 121 No. 4 April 1, 2008 pp. 835 -840
Georgia Health Sciences University. “Longer exercise provides added benefit to children’s health.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918112814.htm>.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, May 2010, Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school-aged children and youth by Ian Janssen and Allana G LeBlanc
World Health Organization Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, 2004