I am greatly impressed by the number of parents who are athletes in my son’s class. We have several accomplished marathoners, triathletes, cyclists, swimmers, and runners. Our public school is home to many parents who exercise regularly. What great role models! While training for a triathlon or marathon is not for everyone, moving your body on a daily basis is necessary to remain healthy. But why is exercise important? We’ve put together some of the reasons that you will want to take a brisk (pump up your heart) walk in the park based on recent scientific studies.
Many of these studies found that the improvements were attributed to cardio exercise (exercise that increases your heart rate) rather than stretching and strength training. However, stretching and strength training should also be a part of your exercise routine. Keeping your body flexible will reduce the risk of injuries while strength training is important for maintaining muscle mass, reducing the risk of bone disease and improving your metabolism.
Science aside, the best reason parents should also exercise is so that we can be good role models for our children. The children who see their parents leave the apartment or house early to go to the gym or park before work, understand that exercise is something that should be incorporated into your life. It demonstrates that it is an ordinary part of life to get active and move the body daily.
A child who is active will have stronger muscles and bones, be less likely to become overweight, decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, possibly lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and have a better outlook on life. Kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle the physical and emotional challenges that a typical day presents – whether it is running to get to school on time, bending down to tie a shoe, or concentrating in class. For kids, “exercise” can be as easy as running around the playground, playing ball or tag with their friends, or riding their bike with their mom or dad. Organized sports and classes like tennis, hip-hop, karate or basketball are great too! So keep moving for your own health and the health of your children. For more on the benefits of exercise for children, see Kids at Play.
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