It takes a lot of effort to fully attend to another human being, but when we are really present with our child, we often find that it energizes us and makes us feel more alive, as being fully present with anyone does. Being close to another human takes work. But 90% of people on their deathbed say that their biggest regret is that they didn’t get closer to the people in their lives. And almost all parents whose children are grown say they wish they had spent more time with their kids.
Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better. They’re also better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test. Include your family in your exercise routines. Squat them, press them, or let them hop on your back! Diet and exercise is just as important for children as it is for adults if not more. For children, exercise does the following:
- Enhances self-esteem. As children exercise, their strength increases, and so does their psychological well-being. They gain confidence and become more comfortable in their own skin. (Often this results in their trying other physical activities like swimming, climbing, or team sports.)
- Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety. Physical activity actually changes your brain chemistry and improves your frame of mind. For instance, exercise increases levels of serotonin, a chemical that some depressed children have in short supply.
- Increases concentration and alertness. Exercise releases ‘endorphins,’ feel-good chemicals that act on the brain as natural tranquilizers. Studies have shown endorphin-rich movement improves mental focus and cognitive skills.
- Boosts energy levels. Movement stimulates attention and energy levels due to improved circulation and blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues.
- Controls mood swings. Exercise calms kids down and stabilizes their mood swings, thus making good behavior more likely.
- Fosters feelings of happiness. Fun, physical activities and mental stimulation -with family and friends in a supportive environment – give children the sense they have achieved something new and challenging. They feel better. They feel happy.
So if you have little ones, all of you can reap the benefits of fun exercises!
Here are some links that can get you started: