Sadler 1Sami SadlerMs. TilleryBrit Lit/Comp28 October 2011 Kids and Exercise Exercising or staying active is important for everyone but it is especially important forchildren. Keeping children active helps to establish healthy habits early. Daily exercise forchildren could be as simple as skipping rope, playing hopscotch or running from the swings tothe slide at the playground. The more fun the activity is, the more likely it will become a healthyhabit for life. Ben Golden wrote an article in The Daily of the University of Washington titled “WhyAre Sports So Important?” In this article, Mr. Golden wrote “It is the world of sports, whichshould be played, watched and studied but never ignored” (Golden). He goes onto to compareand contrast sports and sport athletes to everyday activities and people. He states that athletesare our modern day super heroes. Children look up to and emulate athletes as role models andmost of the time that is a good thing. When children have role models they aspire to be like, theydo the things that those role models do such as play sports and therefore keep physically fit.Exercise is necessary for young and old alike. Exercise has many benefits for children such askeeping them at a healthy weight, teaching them important life lessons, and teaching themhealthy habits to take into life down the road. Exercise for children is an important subject being discussed by researchers, parents, andeducators (Millner). When children are going through their formative years, exercise is moreimportant than anything (“Children’s Fitness: Helping Your Child Stay Active”). A great way
Sadler 2that children can stay active is recess. Forty-two percent of school children throughout the nationget more exercise during recess then they do in physical education class, according to the RovertWood Johnson Foundation’s study (Millner). By allowing children to get exercise at school ithelps to control children’s weight. Obesity is becoming a huge problem for children between theages of two and nineteen. Seventeen percent of children between those ages are obese (Millner).Recess is not just good for keeping children’s weight under control but also it keeps their mindsfresh. By giving children just fifteen minutes of recess a day it allows them to recharge theirminds and refresh their bodies. It is also proven that by giving children at least fifteen minutesof recess a day, it helps them to behave better. It keeps them from getting exhausted, tense, andfrazzled (Millner). Children need to get some kind of physical activity every day. Allowing children to getphysical activity every day allows them to be healthier now and throughout their lives. It helpstheir bones and joints to develop stronger as well as increasing their endurance and musclestrength (Pate). Exercise also helps to boost self-esteem and increase energy. Children whoexercise regularly are less likely to develop diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease andsome cancers (Pate). Regular exercise sets the groundwork for a healthy life style. For children to get adequate exercise they need to exercise for at least 60 minutes mostdays of the week (Kolata). There are a huge variety of fun things children can do to exercise suchas sports, dancing, riding bikes, swimming and walking. Some household chores are strenuousenough to provide enough activity to be considered exercise. There are several types of exercises and each type of exercise is important for a differentreason. One important type of exercise is strength training. It is very important for kids toparticipate in strength traning exercises. Some activities that are considered strength training
Sadler 3exercises are push-ups or pull-ups (“Why Exercise is Cool”). Strength training helps muscles tobecome stronger so children can be active longer when they become adults. Also strong musclesprotect joints, which helps to prevent injuries (“Why Exercise is Wise”). Another type of exercise that is important for children is aerobic exercise. Aerobicexercises are exercises that get the heart beating faster. Some examples of sports that are aerobicwould be swimming, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, and even rowing (“Why Exercise isWise”). A child does not have to play an organized sport to do aerobic exercises. Some aerobicexercises that you can be done alone are riding a bike, running, dancing, swimming, and quickwalking. Aerobic exercises help to build stamina and cardiovascular capacity. Children whoregularly participate in aerobic exercises can play longer and harder than the children who do notparticipate in aerobic exercise. Flexibility training is another type of exercise that is especially important for children.When children do exercises that are considered part of a flexibility training program, it allowstheir muscles and joints to bend and move easier (“Why Exercise is Wise”). Increased flexibilityhelps to prevent muscle strains and sprains in children. There are many activities thatincorporate flexibility exercises such as ballet, martial arts, gymnastics, and yoga. Stretchingbefore and after all types of exercises helps to build more flexibility (“Why Exercise is Wise”). Doctors advise that all children benefit from some kind of regular exercise even if theyhave a disability or other condition such as asthma or diabetes. For example, many people do notknow that children with diabetes can play sports and exercise in much the same way as childrenwith out this condition. There are many well known athletes that have diabetes such as Olympicgold-medal swimmer Gary Hall Jr., Major League Baseball player Jason Johnson, professionalgolfers Kelli Kuehne, and Michelle McGann ("Sports, Exercise, and Diabetes"). Exercise helps
Sadler 4children with diabetes by strengthening bones and muscles; it reduces risks of additionaldiseases, as well as allows insulin to work better in the body. Exercising helps increase energyand relieves tension and stress. It also helps to boost mood and allow for better focus ("Sports,Exercise, and Diabetes"). Some children with diabetes also have hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is when the bodydoes not have enough insulin to allow the glucose that is released throughout exercise to be used.Then when the glucose is not used, it stays in the blood. This situation can then lead to highblood sugar. If a child has diabetes and has a high number of ketones, they should not exercisebecause it can make them very, very sick ("Sports, Exercise, and Diabetes"). Ketones are formedwhen the body starts to burn it’s fat for fuel. In addition, children with diabetes need to watch forlow blood sugar when they are exercising. Low blood sugar is caused because the body needsextra glucose throughout exercise ("Sports, Exercise, and Diabetes"). Which is calledhypoglycemia. Therefore, exercise is important to manage your diabetes. Even though exercise has great benefits, it can be bad if it is overdone. When a personexercises too much it is called compulsive exercise and can be a sign of a bigger issue such as aneating disorder. Compulsive exercise is sometimes used by a person with an eating disorder asanother way to lose weight or to change their body shape. Another way exercise can be bad is byovertraining (“Why Exercise Is Wise”). Overtraining is when athletes participate in only onesport or activity non-stop, year round. When children only participate in one sport year round itcauses them to be more injury prone because of the constant use of the same muscle groups andjoints. Overtraining can be avoided by cross-training. Cross-training is when a child participatesin a different sport or activity than they normally do for some portion of the year. An example is
Sadler 5that if a child plays basketball they could also do an activity such a biking or swimming (“WhyExercise Is Wise”). Exercise and sports are especially good for girls. Researchers have proven that girls whoare active in sports tend to do better in school. Also girls who are active in a sport learnimportant skills such as teamwork and goal-setting (“5 Reasons Girls Should Play Sports”).Additionally, girls active in sports tend to have less stress and pressure and higher self-esteem.Researchers believe that girls who are active as children are less likely to smoke as they getolder. Also it is thought that young girls who exercise are less likely to get breast cancer orosteoporosis (“5 Reasons Girls Should Play Sports”). Michaela Breeze, an Olympic medalist from Wales, said she thinks by having positiverole models in the physical education department it helps to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle.Success in things such as sports is great for children; it boosts their confidence which helps themto believe in themselves. A healthy, active child is one who is fitter, alert, engaged, and equippedto deal with life (Breeze). Exercise and organized sports can be a great way for children to venttheir frustrations and stresses. Physical activity helps children to stay on the right track and tolearn discipline and self-control. Sports are a great way to exercise and teach children life lessons such as scheduling andbalancing activities (Breeze). In the long term sports can have a huge effect on children. Sportsand other types of exercises such as ballet or martial arts help to take the pressure off of childrenand allow them to simply be kids. It is important for kids to be able to get away from schoolwork and clear their minds. By having an outlet such as sports children have a way to keep theirminds fresh which potentially helps them to do better in school.
Sadler 6 Works CitedBreeze, Michaela. “Female weightlifter: Exercise is important for children.” WalesOnline.co.uk. WalesOnline.co.uk, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://www.walesonline.co.uk/health-check- wales/fitness/2011/03/21/michaela-breeze-why-exercise-is-so-important-for-children-91466- 28362416/>.“Children’s Fitness: Helping Your Child Stay Active.” findingDulcinea: The Librarian for the Internet Age. findingDulcinea: The Librarian for the Internet Age, 2011. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://www.findingdulcinea.com/guides/Health/Children-s-Fitness.pg_00.html>.“5 Reasons Girls Should Play Sports.” Kids Health. The Nemours Foundation, 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/fit/5_sports.html?tracking=K_RelatedArticle>.Golden, Ben. “Why Are Sports So Important?” The Daily of the University of Washington. The Daily of the University of Washington, 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://dailyuw.com/news/2006/oct/ 04/why-are-sports-so-important/>.Kolata, Gina. “How Much Exercise Do Children Need?” The New York Times. The New York Times, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/15/health/healthspecial2/ 15exercise.html>.Pate, Russell R., Dr. Ph.D. “Fitness: Frequently Asked Questions.” Expert Advice. IFIC Foundation, 2007. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://kidnetic.com/advice/#q192>.“Sports, Exercise, and Diabetes.” Teens Health. The Nemours Foundation, 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://kidshealth.org/teen/diabetes_center/treatment/sports_diabetes.html>.“Why Exercise Is Cool.” Kids Health. The Nemours Foundation, 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/fit/work_it_out.html>.“Why Exercise Is Wise.” Teen Health. The Nemours Foundation, 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011.
Sadler 7 <http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/take_care/exercise_wise.html>.“Why Kids Need Recess and Exercise.” Parenting. Parenting, 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://www.parenting.com/article/why-kids-really-need-recess>.