Connect with Us

The Importance of Physical Activity for Child Growth and Development

Exercise is a type of physical activity. It is important to understand that physical activity is more than exercise and it is a very important part of a child’s growth and development. Physical activity has become less important to children because they have become more interested in video games and smart phones. This has caused children to become sedentary.

Therefore, it is important for parents to become aware of the recommendations for physical activity that have been established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Children who are ages 3 to 5 should have regular daily physical activity to ensure proper growth and development. Children who are ages 6 and up should engage in more than one hour of moderate to vigorous activity daily.

Physical activity helps children to develop healthy bones and muscles. As children engage in different physical activities their bones and muscles strengthen. This also reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis when the child gets older. The heart is a muscle that is strengthened through regular physical activity which in turns reduces the risk of developing heart disease.

Additionally, regular physical activity helps to develop gross motor skills which involve large muscles of the body and require whole body movement that allow children to perform every day functions. For example, walking, running, climbing, catching, throwing, and hitting a ball.

Regular physical activity also helps in the development of balance and coordination.  Physical activities involving body movements challenge children to coordinate their muscles and movements effectively. Activities such as sports, dance, and cheer improve balance and coordination. It also reduces the risk of injury.

Just as with adults, regular physical activity helps to keep body weight in a normal range.  According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents ages 2-19 in 2017-2202 was 19.7%. This fact cannot be ignored because these children are at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.  Children who participate in regular sports, dancing, walking, and riding bicycles are burning calories and are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.

Regular physical activity also improves brain function. After sitting for a period of time, it is important for a child to get up and move. This helps to reset the brain and get blood and oxygen flowing to the brain and body. Children who engage in regular physical activity also have better impulse control, less moodiness, and improved test scores.

In summary, regular physical activity promotes the development of strong bones, muscles, and minds. Physical activity can also help children maintain a healthy weight and make friends through participation in sports.