Top 5 reasons why kids (and adults too) should get moving!

Kristina RicciProgram Officer, United Way Fit Kids

We all need physical activity to be a part of our daily routines to enjoy the health benefits of exercise. With over one-third of children and adolescents being overweight or obese, this couldn’t be more true for America’s youth today. The epidemic of childhood obesity is one of the major health challenges that United Way is committed to facing and improving to advance the common good. Initiatives like United Way Fit Kids are giving children in our region the knowledge, tools, and inspiration that they need to live healthier lives. Being healthy is not just about eating a nutritious diet. Exercise is essential for fighting obesity and improving overall well-being.

Here are my top 5 reasons why kids (and adults too) should get moving!

1. Improves Confidence

 Exercise builds self-confidence. Kids who are physically fit feel good about their body image. They are more confident when it is time for gym class or sports tryouts. Encouraging children to play outside and join local teams is a great way to help them stay in shape and feel good about themselves.

2. Healthy Weight

 It is no secret that regular physical activity makes it easier to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise burns calories, builds muscle, and speeds up the metabolism. Biking to school, playing catch in the   backyard, or swimming at the local pool with friends are all great ways to work out and to have fun.

3. Lowered Risk of Diabetes

 Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes among children, especially those who are overweight, is on the rise, according to the Mayo Clinic. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight          are all ways to help prevent diabetes. Aim for one hour of exercise a day for diabetes prevention.

4. Stronger Bones

 Did you know that certain types of exercise can help strengthen bones? This is one of those health benefits of exercise that can be easily overlooked but is so important for long-term well-being. Running across a soccer field, lifting weights, and other weight-bearing activities help to build bone tissue.

5. Reduced Stress

A good workout is a great stress reliever for adults. It has the same benefit for kids. A game of kickball or even a walk through the park can help to relieve some of the stress that children and adolescents face in their everyday lives.

There are so many physical and mental health benefits of exercise for kids. Be a part of a positive movement. Get your kids to exercise or join an effort to encourage kids to be more physically active in your community.

Kristina Ricci is the Program Officer for United Way’s Fit Kids and is helping to improve the lives of kids in our region.