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Fitness and Children

Infant Boy WalkingWhat counts as exercise for youngsters?  Anything that involves moving!

Children exercise all the time without even knowing it.  Running, jumping, dancing, touching their toes, crawling, playing sports or outdoor games; all of these are forms of exercise. Exercise can also be a great way for families to spend quality time together. Research has shown that families who regularly eat dinner together are happier and their children have more self-confidence; this also applies to families who participate in activities together. Going hiking or playing games together is a good way to exercise.

Keeping children’s muscles and bones healthy is especially important because they are growing. A healthy combination of diet and exercise in childhood generally leads to adults with healthier lifestyles. Although children should never be told to “watch their weight,” parents should ensure that that their children are eating well-balanced diets rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean protein.

An added benefit of exercise?  Children who play sports and are physically active develop higher self-esteem and do better in school.