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    What are the 5 Advantages of Physical Activity for Child Development?

    Children love to play, move around and see things. It not only keeps them busy and stimulates their learning, but is crucial for their mental development. In current times where gadgets are accessible to children and adults, kids tend to play with them and lessen their physical activity. A study indicates that less than one-quarter (24%) of children aged 6-17 participate in 60 minutes of physical movement every day. This number is alarming for children's physical health because less physical activity leads to multiple health issues later in life.

    What are the 5 Advantages of Physical Activity for Child Development?

    Parents are encouraged to take care of their children’s physical activity and arrange a space where they could gather and play together. Instead of letting them sit around the house all day in front of an electronic device, parents should motivate children to get outside or take them to public parks to engage them in vigorous physical activity.

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    5 Benefits of Physical Activity

    Physical activity for children has many health benefits. It not only helps children gain muscle strength and nourish their bodies but keeps their mental health intact. It makes them smarter and braver. Parents should check their children’s physical activity for overall health and mental growth. Here are 5 benefits of physical activity for a child's development:

    1. Brain health

    Tons of studies show the direct link between physical activity and brain development both in adults and children. It is very crucial for children as they are in a crucial phase of their growth. Recently, studies have shown that physical activity improves executive functioning (EF), which includes memory, flexibility, and self-control. Aerobic exercise helps improve EF in children and adults. Combining aerobic activity with cognitive engagement strengthens organizational functioning development in children.

    Exercise changes the brain's biochemistry by increasing blood vessels, supplying oxygen and blood, and strengthening neuron connections. It now helps children develop cognitively but also excel academically. General intelligence scores increase by 3.8 points through frequent aerobic exercise.

    Cardio and motor skills activities improve brain function. Cardio activities such as walking, running, skipping, dancing, and jumping increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain and enhance brain functioning. The research found that children who walked 20 minutes a day improved brain functioning and academic performance.

    2. Heart and lung health

    As simple as walking and jumping regularly can protect you from the major heart and lung-related diseases. Aerobic exercises help keep fat and other harmful substances like cholesterol out of the bloodstream, which helps protect against heart conditions such as high blood pressure and other heart-related diseases. Aerobic exercises make the heart beat faster and the lungs work harder making them more efficient. Breathing rates increase from 15 times a minute to 40-60 times a minute during exercise. It expedites O2 and CO2 exchange and improves heart and lung functioning and overall health.

    3. Muscular health

    Physical activity and fitness in childhood have likely effects on overall health as one ages. It is directly associated with reduced levels of different diseases. Regular physical activity is imperative to improve muscle strength and endurance. Exercise increases oxygen and nutrients supply to tissues. It assists your cardiovascular system to perform more efficiently.

    4. Bone strength

    Research has shown that children who are engaged in physical activity and regular exercise have stronger bones and muscles than their peers who are not exercising a lot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that children aged 6-17 engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Multiple studies have shown the association between physical activity and bone density. They have also verified that child athletes exhibit more significant bone density, power, and dimensions during elaboration.

    5. Better sleep

    Sleep helps adults reset their body functions and relax their muscles. It is equally critical for children too for their physical strength and development. Physical activity enhances sleep quality and body functioning. Children who get enough sleep develop strong immunity against diseases and prevent the following:

    ● Lower immunity: Lack of sleep makes children vulnerable to multiple diseases. Their low immunity exposes them to increased viruses when sick.

    ● Anxiety and stress: Lack of sleep increases stress hormone release such as cortisol. It increases the chances of stress over small things in children and makes them anxious often.

    ● Obesity: Children who do not get enough sleep tend to develop eating disorders late in life Lack of sleep is generally associated with overeating and can also affect hormones related to appetite.

    ● Behavioral problems: Inadequate sleep makes children tired and grumpy. It reduces their executive function. It means a lower attention span and emotional control. It affects children's cognitive development which creates other behavior-related issues in them.

    In general, adequate sleep improves behavior and emotional regulation, as well as physical development. It significantly decreases the risk of depression, anxiety, diabetes, obesity, and injuries.

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    What physical activities should children participate in?

    Physical activity includes any activity that involves moving your body. It can be a day-to-day task or intense cardio-related exercise. Children can be involved in three categories of physical activity according to their age and health.

    Light physical activity

    Physical exercises like strolling for a stroll, playing a musical instrument, or standing up to paint at an easel implicate less body activity. They do not noticeably change your child’s breathing. These activities can be done in the early years of a child.

    Moderate physical activity

    These activities involve regular movement of your body and make your child huff and puff a little bit. These may include:

    ● Walking quickly

    ● Training with weights

    ● Throwing and catching balls

    ● Hopping, dancing, skipping, or jumping in puddles

    ● Flying kites

    ● Swimming

    Vigorous physical activity

    These activities involve intense physical activity and increase your child’s heart rate. These activities include:

    ● Jumping on a trampoline

    ● Playing running games such as ‘keeping off’ or ‘chasey’

    ● Cycling

    ● Playing organized sports such as soccer, basketball, touch football, and squad swimming.

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