The youth in our country are spending less time getting getting active and more time indoors looking at an electronic screen whether that’s a phone, a tablet, or a television.
Now we all know exercise and physical activity has obvious health benefits with our youth when it comes to developing athletic performance, fighting obesity, and creating healthy lifestyle habits. But what about some of the lesser known benefits? Check them out below:
The literature has shown that increased physical activity is associated with decreased difficulty with falling asleep. So the more active a child is the easier it is for them to fall asleep, meaning they will get a longer, better night’s sleep. Healthy sleep in adolescents has been shown to stave of excess weight gain and improve cognitive performance. So if our kids are more active, they sleep better, lending to higher productivity during the day. (1)
We know self-esteem or confidence plays a large role with how our children interact with the world and in today’s society many kids struggle with developing confidence. A study done in 2006 showed a significant improvement in self-esteem from beginning to end of a 12-week after-school exercise program. This shows if we get our kids to take part in some form of physical activity, it can boost their confidence as well. (2)
Improvements in physical activity is also associated with improvements in academic achievement. As a study done in 2016 showed, increased aerobic capacity and muscular strength were associated with improved recall as well as algebraic performance. So if we get our children more active outside, they will perform better in the classroom. (3)
Getting our kids more active, whether it be through sports, playing outside with their friends, or joining our kids program, allows them to develop better relationships with their friends. In a society where adolescents are more worried about likes on social media, there could not be a more vital time to encourage our youth to take the opportunity to develop deep meaningful friendships. The Harvard Study on Adult Development, one of the longest longitudinal studies ever conducted (76 years and counting!), found that healthy, close, and secure relationships in life had the highest correlation with good long term health. (4)
Here at LIV, we want to help empower our kids. We want them to put down the electronics, go outside, and get busy playing. This way they can go on to live more meaningful, connected, and fulfilling lives.
1)Exercise promotes good sleeping habits in school children. (2009). Nursing Standard, 24(4), 19-19. doi:10.7748/ns.24.4.19.s25
2)Annesi, J. J. (2006). Relations of physical self-concept and self-efficacy with frequency of voluntary physical activity in preadolescents: Implications for after-school care programming. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 61(4), 515-520. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2006.04.009
3) Kao, S., Westfall, D. R., Parks, A. C., Pontifex, M. B., & Hillman, C. H. (2016). Muscular and Aerobic Fitness, Working Memory, and Academic Achievement in Children. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 1. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000001132
About the Author
Nick is LIV Athletic Coach and lifelong athlete. He has a passion for inspiring both youth and adults to live active lives. Nick graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology and plans to pursue a career in medicine. In the meantime, he is enjoying his time working with the amazing team and community here at LIV Athletic.