The Importance of Exercise for Children

Regarding health and well-being, one of the most common problems nowadays is that people, and specifically children, are less active! We tend to live sedentary lives that are driven by technology which involves hardly any physical effort. As a result, people are exposed to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type 2, heart disease and obesity. According to the NHS, children and teenagers are supposed to do three types of physical activity each week in order to stay healthy, combined with a nutritious diet.

 

Typical benefits of physical exercise include:

  • Improved concentration and focus

  • Energy release

  • Better emotional health

  • Boost in self-esteem/self-confidence 

  • Improved social skills

  • Reduced risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases

  • Stress relieve   

  • Better sleep  

Luckily, London provides a wide range of activities for neurotypical children and adults in leisure centres, fitness gyms or after-school clubs, which is great as it encourages children to get started with new exercises leading to improvements in self-confidence and self-worth.

Unfortunately, many children in the UK miss out on this kind of excitement due to high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, self-stimulatory behaviours, hyperactivity or limited verbal communication. I am talking about individuals with additional needs such as autism, ADHD, mental health issues, learning difficulties, physical disabilities....

Unlike their peers, there are hardly any opportunities and facilities for individuals with additional needs in London to enjoy the benefits of structured physical activities. Weekend clubs are either fully booked with long waiting lists or activities consist of playing computer games, watching DVD´s and visits to local fast food restaurants! Eventually, parents will struggle with stereotypic behaviours, tantrums and meltdowns at home, with homework being left undone and with leisure time being spent in front of the iPad. Those children become even more withdrawn with no self-confidence, resulting in a chronic sedentary lifestyle.

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