Summertime offers endless opportunities to get the family up and moving, so get your hearts pumping to reap these rewards of exercise.
Whether the kids are on a hike, in the pool, on the court, or running around their favorite place outside, summer exercise in all its forms has a wide variety of health benefits. Keep these five benefits in mind when anyone in the family is in a slump and needs some extra motivation to exercise.
Prevent Risk of Diseases
Getting into a regular exercise routine of at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week has been shown to help prevent diseases like cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. If 150 minutes sounds daunting, don’t worry, you don’t have to do everything at once. You get to choose how to split up the time to work up to the total minutes per week!
You may even be surprised if you calculate how many minutes you and the children are already doing. If you walk the kids to school or walk to work 15 minutes each way, five days a week, that’s already 150 minutes! Add in a weekend hike, spin class, or pick-up basketball game, and you’re well on your way to keeping your bodies healthy and happy.
Keep the Mind Sharp
Breaking a sweat outside the classroom can lead to positive rewards in school! Physical activity has been shown to help improve cognition in children and adults. (1) It also led to a positive impact on self-esteem and self-perception. (2) Why does this happen? Some researchers think it has to do with chemicals released by the brain after exercise, similar to a runner’s high. (3) Researchers agree that the longer and more intense the activity, the better – of course without overdoing it. So, time to get moving!
Make the Bowels and Tummy Happy
Do your kids ever seem to have a sleepy gut? Although eating high-fiber foods and drinking enough fluids is usually enough to keep our bowel movements regular, research has found that not getting enough exercise may increase the risk of constipation. (3) There are a few reasons exercise and regularity go together. The bouncing of your body during activities like running and jumping can stimulate the movement of food through your digestive system. The abdominal muscles contracting onto the intestines during exercises like sit-ups or playing sports can also have an influence. (4) Don’t forget to encourage the kids to drink plenty of fluids during and after exercise. Moving around and staying hydrated will help with regularity and will allow them to play harder and longer!
Build Strong Bones
During childhood, bodies are growing and getting larger and taller. Bones are growing as well! Exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise like running, push-ups, and most sports, helps bones by causing them to get harder and stronger. The body senses the physical activity and says, “Hey, I need to prepare for the challenge!”
This is important because by the time we turn 30, our bones have reached their peak bone mass! More bone can’t be added after this, which is why getting our kids’ bones as strong as possible and starting good habits young is so important! Combining exercise with a healthy diet that includes calcium-rich foods like milk, yogurt, broccoli, almonds, and calcium-fortified alternative milk is the key to building strong bones.
Keep Your Muscles Strong
When kids’ bodies are growing, and their bones are getting larger, their bodies are also adding lean mass. What is lean mass? Lean mass is just a fancy word for muscle. During puberty, as your kids get taller and older, they will also gain more muscle. However, getting enough exercise, both cardiovascular and resistance, is essential to help build more lean mass. (5) This isn’t just for the kids either – people of all ages can benefit from more muscle. Muscle not only helps us run faster, jump higher, and throw the ball farther, it also helps burn energy and keep us healthy!
While these are all great benefits of exercising, they are only a few of so many. Find fun ways to get the family more active and set new goals to reach 150 minutes per week! Have the kids track their activity with the Super Crew Fitness Tracker to keep them motivated.