Exercise and Its Importance
Pediatric Fitness at UW Health offers a program to help children develop healthy habits of exercise and good nutrition.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children and youngsters accumulate at least 60 minutes daily of moderate to vigorous physical activity in a variety of enjoyable individual and group activities.
Research demonstrates exercise can have a positive impact on your physical, emotional and social well-being.
Regular physical activity can:
- Benefit your whole body, including your mood.
- Working out causes your body to produce endorphins, a chemical that helps you control feelings of stress and frustration, causing you to be happy and peaceful. Exercise helps some sleep better and perform better in school. It also decreases mild depression and anxiety. Exercise improves self-esteem, body image.
- Help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- Help you balance out the calories you consume, an important part of keeping a healthy body weight.
- Decrease risk of many diseases. Physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.
Exercise is Fun
Exercise, or physical activity, does not mean training for a marathon or joining the basketball team. The most important factor when choosing the "best" activity for you is enjoyment. Everyone is more likely to continue doing an activity if it is fun.
Some people enjoy activities that allow them to be active with friends, such as sports or group bike rides. Others prefer to be active on their own and may prefer activities such as running, strength training or swimming. Anything that gets you moving counts. Try different sports and/or activities and see inspire you to keep your body active.
A balanced workout includes aerobic exercise, muscular strength training and flexibility.
This type of exercise is gets your heart pumping and quickens your breath. It helps strengthen the heart causing it to more efficiently deliver oxygen throughout your body.
These sports and activities give you a great aerobic workout:
- Sports: Basketball, swimming, soccer, biking, lacrosse, hockey, rowing, tennis
- Activities: Dancing, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, hiking, walking quickly, jogging, running, jumping on a trampoline
Muscles benefit from strength training. When muscles are used, they become stronger and allow you to be active for longer periods of time without getting exhausted. Strong muscles protect your joints and help prevent injuries when exercising. Building muscle will help you burn calories and maintain a healthy weight as well.
Different exercises target different muscles:
- Arms: rowing, cross-country skiing, pulls-ups, push-ups
- Legs: Running, biking, rowing, skating, squats, leg raises
- Abdominals: Rowing, yoga, Pilates, crunches
Flexibility training helps your muscles and joints move easily and prevents injury. Stretching before and after a workout also helps improve your flexibility.
Sports and activities that help can improve flexibility include martial arts, karate, ballet, gymnastics, Pilates, yoga.
Other ideas for staying active include:
- Walk instead of driving to do errands
- Ride your bike (and always wear a bike helmet)
- Plant a garden (and don't forget to weed it in the summer)
- Go for a picnic
- Take a trip to the beach
- Play Frisbee
- Go canoeing
- Go ice skating or cross-country skiing
- Hike in the woods. Wisconsin has many beautiful state parks
- Visit the zoo