What is the first thing that comes to mind when you heard the word “exercise?” For most adults it’s lifting weights and running on a treadmill in the basement or at the gym. Both lifting and cardio are great ways to lose weight, build muscle, and live an overall healthy lifestyle.

Exercise for kids tends to center around being physically activity and playing. In essence, children exercise during recess, at sports practices and games, in gym classes, and when riding bikes.

Although it is just as important for kids to exercise as it is for adults, in the current day and age far fewer children are exercising on a regular basis. This is due to the influx of electronics such as smartphones, tablets, and video game players. Prior to Internet enabled devices, children would go outside and play for hours on end. Now, a great deal of kids choose to spend their time indoors playing PlayStation/Xbox, or watching YouTube videos on their phones.

Yet, children benefit greatly from physical activity. For example, active kids typically have stronger muscles and bones, leaner bodies, and less of a risk of becoming overweight.

They also have a lower chance of getting type 2 diabetes, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and even have a better general outlook on life. In addition, children that are physically fit tend to sleep better.

When kids play, they are actually partaking in endurance, strength, and flexibility, otherwise known as the three (3) elements of fitness. That means parents should encourage their children to participate in a variety of activities that enable them to work on all three elements. Endurance develops when children get aerobic exercise on a regular basis. In essence, the heart beats faster, breathing becomes heavier, and muscles are in motion. That means aerobic exercise strengthens the heart, improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all of its cells, and builds muscle.

Some great aerobic activities for children include basketball, bicycling, skating, swimming, walking, jogging, and running to name a few.

Regarding building strength, it does not necessary mean lifting weights, especially for kids. Instead, children can do push-ups, pull-ups, and stomach crunches. Climbing, handstands, and wrestling are other good ways for children to build strength. As far as improving flexibility, stretching exercises help a great deal. It is important that children allow their muscles and joints to bend and move easily. This can be accomplished through a full range of motions such as reaching for a toy, doing splits, or performing cartwheels.

At this point you may be asking yourself how much exercise is good for kids? Children and teenagers should exercise for a minimum of an hour per day, toddlers should play in an active manner for at least an hour per day, and preschoolers should partake in active play for a minimum of two (2) hours per day. This includes both adult led physical activity and unstructured free play. In addition, young children should not be inactive for long amounts of time. For example, they should not be idle for more than an hour at a time unless they are asleep. School age children should not be dormant for longer than two (2) hours at a time.

It goes without saying that it is important to raise physically fit children. The combination of exercise on a regular basis, and a healthy diet are crucial to living a healthy lifestyle. That is exactly why parents need to set a regular schedule for physical activity, and make being active a part of your children’s daily life. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about cardio exercises, weight lifting, eating properly, and taking the proper nutritional supplements. Wucely St. Fleur will help you crush your fitness goals, as well as your nutritional and overall wellness objectives. Give us a call today to get started on the path to better health.

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