Physical Activity

Get Up, Get Out, Get ACTIVE: The Importance of Physical Activity for Children

Most adults visit a gym, attend yoga class, or go for a run to get their regular dose of physical activity. Fortunately, our children get most of their daily exercise by accident! When they do things like play tag, ride a bike or participate in sports, your little ones are improving their overall health through fun-filled fitness activities. Not only does exercise keep kids looking and feeling great in the short-term, it has multiple long-term health benefits as well.

How Does Physical Activity Impact My Child?

Generally, we use three main Elements of Fitness to categorize different types of exercise and physical activities. We may observe all three elements at the gym or during a workout class, but we can also see them in our little one’s daily routine.

  1. Endurance develops through regular aerobic activity. During aerobic exercises, our hearts race and we begin to breathe harder than normal. Over time, aerobics can strengthen your child’s heart and improve their oxygen absorption. But don’t worry, you wont see toddlers running laps to get their heart rates up. Ever heard of tag? Running from the person who’s “it” is a great way to get your heart rate up without even trying!
  2. Strength is another key aspect of fitness that most kids begin developing early on. Rather than hitting the weight room, children can simply climb the monkey bars and other play structures, do handstands, or even wrestle to improve their overall strength and tone their muscles unintentionally.
  3. Flexibility can also begin to develop when your kids are still young. Of course, activities like gymnastics help kids to improve their flexibility quickly, but kids can practice cartwheels and other “tumbling” exercises at their own interest too! The littlest of tots can even begin to build up their flexibility by reaching for a faraway toy or leaning down to ties their shoes.

What are the Benefits of Exercise for Kids?

In addition to building strength, endurance and flexibility, kids who exercise regularly have stronger muscles and bones than kids who don’t get enough physical activity. Active children usually have lean bodies and a reduced risk of obesity, type two diabetes, and even high blood pressure. Furthermore, children who participate in physical activities have a better outlook on life and even SLEEP better than their sedentary counterparts. That’s a win for the whole family!

How Much Exercise Does My Child Really Need?

Generally, toddlers should get around 90 minutes of physical activity each day, but that doesn’t mean they have to do push-ups or go for a jog! In fact, experts recommend toddlers spend 30 minutes completing a pre-planned physical activity (sports, dance class, etc.) and draw the remaining hour from unstructured “free play” time. As they advance to preschool, most children should exercise for nearly two hours each day. At this age they’ll probably spend 60 minutes of this time on a planned activity and complete their remaining exercise during free play. Once they get to grade school, most children need about an hour of exercise throughout the day, whether it’s coming from free play during recess or an after-school sports practice.

Looking for a fun way to get your kids excited about getting fit?

Jungle Joe’s Spring Break Camps are the perfect opportunity for the little ones to get some exercise while having a blast! We offer full and half day options March 12-16 so parent’s can enjoy a relaxing staycation too. Space is limited – register today!