Obesity is becoming a global issue. According to the World Health Organization, overweight children in South East Asia have risen by 150% in the last decade. An estimated 6.6 million young children under 5 years old are currently obese. (WHO, 2019)
While not all overweight children go on to become overweight adults, obesity in adulthood is often closely related to childhood obesity. Hence, good habits must be formed early in life.
Proper physical activity is one way to combat obesity and reduce the risk of associated diseases. Parents are also key to helping kids form good exercise habits and encourage healthy behaviors.
So, what will happen when kids do not engage in enough physical activity?
1. Increase in Stress
Over the past few decades, childhood stress has increased. Prolonged stress in young children can slow, or even stop physical growth and brain development.
So how does physical activity come in? A study has found that people who exercise were better equipped to handle stressful situations than those who are inactive. Regular exercise also relieves the stress response and counters it with the release of feel-good hormones!
2. Mood Swings
A lack of exercise can lead to a lowered sense of well-being. Good mental health is important for learning and life, it helps kids enjoy their daily experiences, build meaningful and positive relationships with others, and develop vital coping skills for the future.
Exercise stimulates your body to release endorphins and dopamine, this helps to elevate kids’ mood, relieve anxiety, and reduce the risk of developing depression.
3. Lack of Sleep
A deficiency in exercise can also affect sleep patterns. It is recommended that school-age kids and teens sleep between 9 to 11 hours every night, depending on their age. Inactive children have a higher likelihood of having difficulties sleeping and staying asleep.
Sleep deprivation builds over time, not enough sleep can cause attention problems, short-term memory loss, inconsistent performance, and delay in response times. With regular exercise, it is much easier for kids to maintain regular and healthy sleep patterns.
4. Lowered School Performance
Exercise boosts brain power and improves academic results. Research has also proven that moderate activity increases brain function, cognition, and academic performance in children. On top of that, the blood flow to the brain is boosted with exercise, this aids kids with concentration and alertness to problem-solving. A lack of physical exercise may mean that children may not reach their full academic potential as they miss out on these benefits.
5. Increase Risk of Disease
It is harder to maintain a healthy weight and regulate blood pressure without physical activity. Kids who suffer from obesity are more prone to developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
In addition, due to the absence of physical activity, bones and muscles are not strengthened, this increases the risk of brittle bones, osteoporosis, and other bone and muscle-related issues when they get older. Regular exercise can help to reduce the chances of developing diseases, now and later in life.
Therefore, encourage your kids to exercise, kids who are active tend to be physically and psychologically healthier and perform better in school.
However, in this modern era of technology, more kids are sedentary and are not getting their daily recommended amount of physical activity.
Our sports classes and camps can be of a good solution to this. Take your pick from a variety of sports!
If you are unsure, you can first sign-up for a free trial here! For more information on the classes, click here.
World Health Organization. (2019). Obesity and overweight in South East Asia. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/southeastasia/health-topics/obesity-and-overweight
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ProActiv Sports – More than Just Sports Coaching
Will is one of the founders of Sport4Kids (now ProActiv Sports) in Hong Kong and was the driving force behind bringing it to Singapore in 2014. Will obtained a degree in Sports Science and Health, from Dublin City University and has vast experience coaching children and adults of all level and abilities. Will is experienced at coaching in a wide variety of sports with a particular interest in Soccer, Basketball and Gaelic Football. He is also a very keen sportsman having represented Ireland in underage basketball and Gaelic Football.