Most kids are, by nature, extremely physically active. They just seem to have so much energy all the time, don’t they? Very young kids actually learn and develop this way. They learn and discover by moving through their environment — and this is how physical activity helps foster a kid’s development. The learning process encompasses so much; The National Network for Childcare has reported that activity helps shape a youngster’s cognitive, psychological and physical growth all at the same time… but how?
The Psychological Benefits
First, it’s interesting to have a look at the least direct way that physical activity aids child development — psychologically. Kids of around 3 to 5 years old should benefit hugely from the inclusion that is possible through taking part in sports with other people. Kids around this age need to feel accepted, and feeling excluded can have major negative effects on your little guy’s confidence levels and self-esteem. The building of positive relationships among kids of the same age, as well as the being involved in something that doesn’t discriminate — with the right program or coaching — against gender, race or ability, can really help with your kid’s psychological growth.
The Physical Benefits
According to the American Heart Association, young children should be given at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. Kids need to be active for all sorts of physical reasons — such as fighting against the danger of obesity and avoiding the potential threat of diabetes. Studies have shown that it is more likely for inactive children to turn into inactive adults, which makes them more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure and even some forms of cancer… This point also ties back to the psychological benefit of physical exercise, in the sense that being generally active and seeing certain physical results come out of it actually boosts a kid’s mood. An obese girl losing weight because of exercise is likely to make her feel good in the end.
The Cognitive Benefits
Taking part in physical activity really helps with your little critter’s brain development too! Laura Chaddock of the University of Illinois stated that kids who were more physically active tended to have a bigger hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that helps with your little one’s space navigation and memory. She reported that children did better when tested on relational memory and the ability to connect things together.
So, it’s pretty safe to say that exercise is a definite plus in the life of your little boy or girl. It benefits all areas of their development — and not just what you would expect. According to Eloise Elliot, Ph.D, in her article, “The Importance of Movement and Physical Activity,” kids are hard to get moving these days, despite their naturally high energy levels. As you probably know as a parent, the general increase in watching television, less focus on physical play and more being driven around makes exercise a difficult factor to keep strong in your child’s life.ReferencesResources