Children are like clay that is waiting to be molded into its best possible shape and form. They are flexible in thought while their bodies are still growing and are open to changes. Physical exercise and its importance cannot be overrated. It is vital for everyone, irrespective of their age and gender. In fact, the more physical activity a child has, the better he/she performs in other aspects of life as well.
In a digital age like ours, it is not common to see children indulging in physical activity as much as they indulge in mentally stimulating activities. This makes it important to encourage them to be active and keep their bodies healthy, the natural way.
What is Aerobics
In general, the word “aerobic” refers to free oxygen in the air. This means that aerobic exercises are cardio exercises which improve the heart rate and make respiratory functions perform better in the body. Aerobic exercise can be adapted to various forms and benefits one’s body in many ways.
Different Aerobic Exercises For Children
There are numerous ways that children can take up aerobic exercising. Let’s look at a few of these:
This is probably the most common form of exercise for a child. This is because they run around a lot anyway. Running has a lot of benefits such as increased lung capacity and strong leg muscles.
It is believed that babies as young as 6 months old can be put in water and they will automatically start paddling and float as well This happens because the prefrontal cortex in children is not as developed as adults, making their minds more flexible and open to new movements and skills. So, as a child, learning to swim is a much easier and quicker process. Swimming is a brilliant aerobic exercise that works on the whole body, makes all four limbs stronger, and increases lung capacity.
There is a wide variety of sports that children can choose from such as football, basketball, hockey, skating and so on. In fact, studies have shown that children who play at least one sport fall sick less frequently because of a boosted immune system. They also perform better academically because their brains receive continuous blood circulation. They tend to have pleasing personalities as playing sports involves team-work and coordination making them learn to coexist with others.
Cycling is not only an aerobic exercise but also could be considered a basic life skill as it greatly improves body balance and helps in the future with learning how to ride or drive a motor vehicle. Cycling works on improving body balance and strengthens the muscles. In fact, outdoor cycling is a fun activity and should be encouraged not only in children but in adults too. The leg muscles are conditioned and the lungs have the capacity to intake more oxygen.
Getting children enrolled in aerobic dance for kids isn’t always easy if they don’t like dancing themselves, but it does have a lot of advantages such as better flexibility, improved motor skills, and better-developed limb strength. They can learn a dance that incorporates aerobic steps for children. Irrespective of the dance form, dancing itself is a very effective exercise that tones the body and improves fluidity of movement in the limbs. It is also believed that children who dance and listen to music regularly have calmer minds and are more emotionally developed due to the release of serotonin in the body.
6. Martial Arts
A lot of parents like to enroll their children in martial arts classes because it teaches them important skills like self-defense and discipline. Martial arts have many different forms like karate, jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts and so on. These martial art forms are great for keeping them physically strong through intense conditioning of the body. The energy and discipline that goes into this art form helps them with being mentally prepared for a situation where self-defense may be required. Martial arts are a form of aerobic exercising. It is a total body exercise that strengthens the muscles and the bones, making the child both physically prepared and mentally aware.
7. Jump Rope
Using the jump rope to skip is good for children because it helps with development of stronger motor skills in the legs. It is also known to help children grow faster in height as it helps promote growth hormones in the body. It also works on flexibility, better coordination, and toning of the muscles. . This is why skipping is one of those fun exercises that can promote good health and fit muscles in children.
Skateboarding requires a lot of focus and stability in the body. By learning how to skateboard, children can develop a renewed sense of balance in their movements. Since this isn’t a very easy skill to learn, kids tend to learn through trial and error. Learning how to balance the speed and movement on a skateboard involves a lot of mental work, making kids think and perceive things more logically when they’re on a skateboard. This aerobic exercise is a fun but also a tricky way to teach a child how to be more focused. This is learnt by concentrating on balancing, maintaining a consistent speed.
Hiking and trekking are not just for adults. Even children can take part in this outdoor activity. They can make the most of its benefits by catering to their adventurous side while also making their bodies stronger and more resistant. Hiking helps in building up stamina, improves lung capacity and strengthens the legs. Hiking also helps with building strength in general and reduces the risk of respiratory problems, as the lungs become a lot stronger. The respiratory tract becomes less volatile with more intake of oxygen.
A child’s body is twice as easy to mould as a fully-grown adult’s body. This is because they are still growing and developing. Trying out gymnastics would be easier for a kid and its benefits include increased flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and better body balance. Gymnastics is a great way to introduce aerobics activity for children, into their daily lives.
Benefits Of Aerobics Exercise For Children?
The exercises are easy to do, are fun and engaging, and offer numerous benefits of aerobics for children who take an interest in it. Let’s have a look at these benefits:
1. Better Mobility
Regular exercise prevents the kid’s limbs from becoming stiff and allows free-flowing uninterrupted movement. This allows the child to feel healthy, empowered and does not restrict them from playing or indulging in their favourite games.
2. Good Immunity
Due to increased oxygen in the lungs, the child’s lung capacity increases and so does the stamina. When stamina increases, the child becomes healthier and his/her blood absorbs nutrients and essential minerals faster. This means that children will be able to absorb all the essential nutrients from the air and from the food they consume. This directly results in boosted immunity and strength.
3. Academic Performance
With increased oxygen enriching the whole body, the brain is enriched too. The brain requires a good amount of blood flow to function optimally and make the best use of the nervous system. Being academically sound is not about how many books a child reads or how good his/her report card looks, but how receptive and retentive his brain is.
4. Better Teamwork
Aerobic exercises give children the perfect opportunity to meet other like-minded children who have active lifestyles and are eager to get out of the house and explore. They learn to mingle with other kids and learn to perform better in a diverse group. Even in schools, working in a team is given importance because it is an essential life skill. When a child is locked up at home and doesn’t get out much, he/she misses out on many opportunities to meet other children and develop this important life skill.
5. Reduced Mental Health Problems
Mental health issues like anxiety and depression have become common in children nowadays. They often experience a lot of mental stress and peer pressure and are at a very confusing stage in life. It is a fact that exercising helps release additional endorphins into the body. These endorphins are useful for fighting anxiety and depression and for elevating the mood. This makes the child feel happier and stress-free. Sometimes it takes more than just regular medicine to fight mental illness and aerobic exercises are a viable option.
6. Fighting Obesity
Obesity in children is often overlooked by parents because they don’t consider it an actual problem. Obesity weakens the child and increases vulnerability to diseases. Irrespective of the age, it’s always better to be of a proportionate weight and eat healthy. Aerobic exercise also helps in dealing with this problem as it keeps a check on their weight. It helps in losing additional fat cells that build up with junk-eating and irregular digestion.
7. Stronger Muscles
During the growing years, muscles and bones have the maximum potential to become sturdy and strong. Training children at a young age through exercise makes the muscles stronger and prevents the build-up of fatty acids in the muscles. In fact, if a child’s muscles are strengthened right from an early age, he/she will have very few muscle related problems in the future. This is because their bodies will be a lot less susceptible to injuries and soreness.
8. Better Bone Density
Giving children milk and other calcium-rich substances helps make theirbones strong. You can enhance the benefits of calcium by introducing exercise into their lives. Weak bones are a major problem that can cause several injuries and long-term problems..
9. Stronger Lungs
Aerobics ensures that larger volumes of continuous oxygen are pumped into the body. This causes the children’s lung capacity to increase significantly, making their lungs strong and healthy. Respiratory problems are quite common in young kids because of how vulnerable their immune system is to infections. This is because their bodies are still in the development stage. Through exercise and movement, their stamina increases gradually and they are at a lower risk of contracting respiratory problems.
10. Good Appetite
Children usually have erratic eating habits. They refuse to eat healthy food and would rather binge on snacks and what they call “tasty” food. The truth is that junk food has no nutritional value and only harms the digestive system. This can lead to stomach pains, loose bowels and so on. Aerobics helps build an appetite where the kid’s bodies yearn for food with nutritional content.
By introducing aerobics exercise into a child’s life, you would be highly enhancing their health, mind, cognitive, emotional abilities and make them stronger inside out. So, go ahead and try out these exercises, and you will see the results for yourself!