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Published on August 09, 2021

Boost Your Child’s Brainpower with Exercise

Child writing in a book

Although summer may be over, fall is another great season to keep fun physical activity going, and it has real benefits for school-bound children.

Exercise boosts brain function. And what child (or adult, for that matter) wouldn’t benefit from a little extra brainpower?

Obesity on the rise

Experts also agree that exercise is vital to the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of children.

Yet most school-age kids are not getting as much physical activity as they need.

The statistics are alarming. There are now more obese children in America than ever before.

While the numbers aren’t as high in the Puget Sound area (way to go, kids!), it is still a growing concern among physicians, particularly because of obesity’s long-term consequences, such as higher risks for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The good news

The good news is that there are some simple ways you can help your children minimize their chances of becoming overweight.

We’ve compiled a list of ideas from Family Circle magazine:

  • Encourage your child’s participation in sports. Team and individual sports are great avenues for building a child’s self-esteem and sense of well-being.
  • Make exercise a priority for the entire family. Take after-dinner walks. Plan weekend bike trips together. Run after school with your teen. Build exercise, such as hiking and swimming, into family outings and vacations.
  • Start a walking group to replace the school bus: If your child’s school is within walking distance, start walking (or even biking) with your child to school and invite other bus-stop buddies to join you.
  • Mix it up. Encourage your child to try many forms of exercise: tennis, biking, running, rollerblading, or even a friendly game of tag or kickball.
  • Limit television and computer time. Turn off the electronics, and encourage your child to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Establish daily outdoor playtime.
  • Reinforce positive body image: Exercise is about being healthy, not looking like a model. Keep the emphasis on fun and health.
  • Participation in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program founded by the NFL. Kids are encouraged to make a pledge to healthy eating and 60 minutes of physical exercise every day. 

How much exercise does a child need?

In order to achieve cardiovascular fitness, the American Heart Association recommends a combination of both moderate and vigorous physical activity, at least three to four times a week, for both children and adults.

Want More Healthiest Best Exercise Ideas?

Visit our Healthiest Best Activity & Exercise articles for more great ideas to work activity into your daily routine.

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