You may have noticed that your child’s Montessori education involves yoga, soccer and other physical activities. And when you noticed this, you probably wondered why the education system bothers with exercise. After all, when you think of school, you think of mental enrichment-not physical enrichment.
However, physical exercise contributes to your children’s overall mental health as well. Exercise boosts your children’s lifelong health and increases their chances for future successes. So, even though it may seem counterintuitive, physical activity represents a critical part of your kids’ education.
Below, we’ve listed a few ways that exercise boosts your little ones’ development.
- It controls weight.
You’ve likely seen stories about obese children in the news. In many cases, these children didn’t exercise or eat well. As a result, they became overweight early on, which began a cycle of increasing mass that even an adult would struggle to break out of.
You don’t want this to happen to your children. And while your kids probably won’t become obese, they may still struggle to control their weight if they don’t get regular exercise. So even if your children dance or play sports at school, they should still do something active when they get home. They’ll stay fit and healthy with that strategy.
- It strengthens muscles and bones.
When the body senses that certain muscles and bones handle more force than others, it sends more nutrients to those areas. The added nutrients make the tissues stronger, and your child becomes healthier as a result. If you want to ensure your kids have tough and healthy bodies, make sure they stay active every day.
- It lengthens your kids’ lifespan.
Studies have shown that people who exercise for at least seven hours per week have a 40% lower risk of an early death than those who exercised for less than a half hour. This statistic makes sense because physical activity also reduces a person’s risk for serious diseases, which we’ll discuss below. As a result, an active person has a more resilient body and tissues, so he or she will stay healthier longer.
- It reduces the risk for serious diseases.
When children and adults gain weight, they become more susceptible to certain diseases, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and more. The excess weight weakens the body and decreases the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. This lets diseases set in.
Luckily, exercise prevents some of these conditions and mitigates the risk for others.
- It improves your kids’ mental health.
Exercise releases endorphins and other hormones that help the body feel energized and euphoric. And that extra energy and euphoria boosts your children’s happiness. Your children also have a lower risk for depression and anxiety because exercise induces good emotions and purges toxins from the body.
Additionally, exercise increases blood flow to the brain, so it should improve the organ’s overall performance. Even if your children don’t want to become athletes, a little exercise can help them become the brainiacs and artists they want to be instead.
- It boosts self-esteem and body image.
As mentioned above, physical activity helps your children control their weight. This control has another benefit other than overall health: it also improves your kids’ self-esteem. They won’t have to worry about how they look because they carry too much weight, so they’ll feel happier and more confident as a result.
- It builds characteristics like work ethic.
If you enroll your kids in team sports, they’ll have to work hard to stay fit and develop the skills necessary for their sport. As a result, they’ll learn discipline and develop a health work ethic. These characteristics will help them succeed later in life.
- It teaches interpersonal skills.
Team sports also encourage children to work together towards a common goal. Your kids will have to learn about cooperation. They’ll also make friends, and they’ll have to learn how to lose graciously. These crucial skills can help them develop more successful relationships as they grow older.
- It taps into your children’s creativity.
When children dance, or even when they play sports, they have to think creatively and strategically. So if you want your children to become cleverer than ever, exercise represents the right solution. After all, to some extent, creativity is a skill rather than an inherent trait.
- It encourages a love of nature.
Most exercise takes place outside in the fresh air. It gets your children off the couch and out of the house so they can enjoy nature. They’ll learn to appreciate the cloudy days and the sunny ones. They’ll get to bask in fall’s fiery colors. They will also have the opportunity to watch things in the natural world that they may not have seen before, like ant colonies, new sprouts, birds’ nests, and more,
Physical activity has a lot of benefits beyond bodily health-though that benefit matters a lot too. If you’d like your children to develop any of the qualities listed above, start encouraging them to exercise today