The Benefits of Excercise
Young children crave physical activity, it comes naturally. They don’t think about making time to exercise, they get it on a daily basis just by being kids. If you ever watch children at the playground, they are in constant motion. They don’t walk around, they run. Where adults often have to motivate themselves to get to the gym, or tennis court, or bicycle trail…children want and desire to move around. If only we could bottle that natural energy and have it for a lifetime? But the reality is that it may not last throughout the tween years and it’s important that we teach children the value and benefits of including healthy exercise into their lives. Outdoor games and workout routines can be the tools that instill a lasting love of exercise. So be it on the soccer field, dance class, or just
playing tag at recess, there are endless opportunities for kids to be involved in and enjoy physical activity.
The percentage of overweight and obese kids and teens has more than doubled over the past 30 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that approximately 17% of children ages 2 to 19 are obese. Although many factors contribute to this epidemic, children are becoming more sedentary. With today’s technology, it may be more challenging to get kids away from video games and online activities. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average child is watching about 3 hours of television a day, and spends 5 ½ hours on all screen media combined. These statistics alone are great motivators to get moving.
The many benefits of being physically active include greater confidence, more energy, a stronger immune system, improved sleep, better memory, lower body fat, stronger bone and muscle structure and an overall better outlook on life. Rae Pica, a movement education specialist and the author of “A Running Start: How Play, Physical Activity, and Free Time Create a Successful Child”, notes that “activity and movement helps kids develop not only their bodies, but also their brains, their ability to learn, and their social skills. It impacts the whole child”
For these reasons and more, here at camp we want to encourage kids to do a variety of physical activities to improve their endurance, strength and flexibility. A few years ago we introduced a fitness program that got our campers and staff moving and improving their physical strength. Its success inspired us to create a new studio space, dedicated to a fitness program complete with Pilates, Spinning, and Cardio & Weight Training. To get the most out of this program, we have a staff of fitness experts, including a speed and agility staff person, to guide us in having fun while learning a healthy lifestyle.
We have confidence that our new fitness program and studio will instill a love of exercise and most importantly improve overall health. We also believe that our campers will have an edge on The American Heart Association’s recommendation that children engage in at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. But don’t wait for the summer, start now… get out there, get moving and have fun!