When most adults think about exercising, they picture lifting weights, working out on a treadmill, or going to the gym. But for children, exercising means being physically active during school and when they are home.
Active girls benefit from regular exercise. They will:
- grow stronger bones and muscles
- develop a leaner body
- be less likely to become overweight
- have a decreased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Research shows that the warning signs can be present in overweight children as young as 10 years of age.
- have lower cholesterol levels and reduced stress
- Increase the chances of living a healthier life as an adult woman
Girls who are physically active are more capable of handling emotional and physical challenges as they relate to development, growth, and health (for example, studying for a test or running to catch a bus). Unfortunately, only 1 out of 3 children actually get in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The 3 Components of Fitness for Children
If you’ve ever observed children at a park or playground, you’ve already seen the three elements of fitness in action when they:
- run away from the one child who’s “it” in the game of tag (cardio).
- successfully cross the monkey bars (strength).
- play on the overhead track ride (flexibility).
Aerobic activity strengthens the heart and is fun for kids! Examples of aerobic playtime for girls can include the following:
To improve strength, children do not need a formal weight-training program to become strong. They can incorporate strength activities when climbing a jungle gym or attempting a handstand.