Early and late childhood are well-recognized as important periods in development where exercise is very important. What happens during childhood will affect a person’s health and metabolism for the rest of their life. It is important, therefore, that children get adequate physical activity and nutrition as early as possible.
Why is Physical Education Important?
Physical education is extremely important in the life of a child, as it will determine their habits as they go into adulthood. A child with an unhealthy lifestyle is more likely to struggle with excess weight and even bullied at school. This can have a negative effect on the child’s self-esteem and interfere with their ability to build positive social relationships.
An overweight child is more likely to be an obese adult, a condition that comes with greater risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise will mitigate these risks by increasing insulin sensitivity, lowering blood pressure, and promoting a healthy weight.
Regular exercise promotes healthy brain development. It can boost cognitive processes like attention span, reasoning, and memory which often translates to better academic performance. The release of “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine, noradrenaline, and endorphins contributes to a stable mood and lower rates of depression.
Exercise also leads to a release of growth factors in the brain that promotes the building of neurons, synapses, and blood vessels (1). Adequate exercise even delays the onset of neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer that have a strong genetic component.
Growing children need exercise to promote the growth and density of bones. Muscle contraction from exercise stimulates the formation of the mineral hydroxyapatite from calcium in the bone. It is hydroxyapatite that makes our bones hard and rigid, allowing them to support and protect internal organs from harm.
Bone density gained during childhood and adolescence will be a determinant in the development of osteoporosis in old age (2). Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose much of their density and are prone to fractures. Exercise in childhood builds bone mass reserves and lowers their risk from fractures later in life.
Childhood is a formative stage in every sense of the word. Exercise plays a key role in the body’s ability to fully develop functionally and optimally. Ensuring that your children get sufficient physical activity will help to guarantee all aspects of their health for the rest of their life.
CORE is proud to provide live-streamed virtual P.E. fitness programs for all ages. Our classes are not only fun but also meet California’s state curriculum guidelines for children’s physical education.
- Godman, Heidi. “Regular Exercise Changes the Brain to Improve Memory, Thinking Skills.” Harvard Health Blog, 5 Apr. 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110.
- “Kids and Their Bones: A Guide for Parents.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/juvenile.