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Published on August 19, 2022

Boost Your Child's Brainpower with Exercise

Child writing in a book

Although summer may be over, fall is another great season to keep fun physical activity going, and it has real benefits for school-bound children.

Exercise boosts brain function. And what child (or adult, for that matter) wouldn't benefit from a little extra brainpower?


Obesity On The Rise

Experts also agree that exercise is vital to the mental, physical and emotional well-being of children. Yet most school-age kids are not getting as much physical activity as they need.

Meanwhile, child obesity continues to be an issue throughout the U.S., having long-term consequences for kids everywhere by putting them at a higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

While Puget Sound area children tend to be healthier than those in other parts of the country (way to go, kids!), it is still a growing concern among physicians.


The Good News

The good news is that there are some simple ways you can help your children minimize their chances of becoming overweight.

Here are some ideas to keep your child exercising during the school year:

  • Encourage your child's participation in sports. Team and individual sports are great avenues for building a child's self-esteem and sense of well-being.
  • Make exercise a priority for the entire family. Take after-dinner walks. Plan weekend bike trips together. Run after school with your teen. Build exercise, such as hiking and swimming, into family outings and vacations.
  • Start a walking group to replace the school bus: If your child's school is within walking distance, start walking (or even biking) with your child to school and invite other bus-stop buddies to join you.
  • Mix it up. Encourage your child to try many forms of exercise: tennis, biking, running, rollerblading, or even a friendly game of tag or kickball.
  • Limit television and computer time. Turn off the electronics, and encourage your child to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Establish daily outdoor playtime.
  • Reinforce positive body image: Exercise is about being healthy, not looking like a model. Keep the emphasis on fun and health.

How much exercise does a child need?

In order to achieve cardiovascular fitness, the American Heart Association recommends a combination of both moderate and vigorous physical activity, at least three to four times a week, for both children and adults.

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