When I was a kid and in school, recess was the time to run around and be active. Then we would have P.E. where we learned new sports, ran and exerted ourselves.

tennis shoes, exercise, treasuringthemoments.net

But I’ve noticed that homeschoolers tend to ignore this part of a child’s day. Even myself. And it disturbs me. It disturbs me for a few reasons.

1. your body’s bone mass has reached it’s peak by the time you finish your teen years

2. your heart is a muscle and you know what happens when your muscles don’t get used (shhh, they get flabby!)

3. it’s good for their mental health

Giving our children a good education is wonderful, gives the mind nourishment and is necessary for them to get along in the world but we don’t want to be negligent in their physical needs. If we do not require that they get physical exercise we are setting them up for ill health in later years.

Muscle Mass

Did you know almost all hip fractures are due to osteoporosis?  All through a child’s growing years the density of his muscles are being formed and they reach their peak at the end of their teen years. Super important time for children to be outdoors running, playing and doing what almost all small children did before video and computer came along.  The denser the muscles, the less likely your child will suffer from osteoporosis in later years.

Achieving a good density is important but to not lose it as you get older, you must maintain it by doing weight bearing exercises. Weight bearing exercises are ones that work against gravity such as walking, running, hiking, racquetball, climbing stairs, etc. Bicycling and Swimming are neither one considered to be weight bearing exercises because with them you are not supporting your weight against gravity.

Reason #2 that it’s important for our kids to have regular and vigorous exercise…

A Strong Heart

A heart is like any other muscle in your body; if it is not used it becomes weak and flabby.  A weak and flabby heart has more difficulty pumping blood to the rest of your body and thus your blood pressure is raised. That is why exercise is recommended to bring your blood pressure down.  Your heart is what keeps you alive but how careless we are of this precious fact. Thankfully, you can bring your heart back up to a thriving strong muscle by doing regular exercise.

Reason #3 that we should exercise…

Mental Health

Exercise is sort of like work. You may not always enjoy it but it brings a sense of satisfaction when completed. After some exercise, you feel invigorated and ready to take on the day. This is because endorphins are released into your blood when you are exercising.

Endorphins are the body’s natural feel good chemicals, and when they are released through exercise, your mood is boosted naturally.  …exercise also releases adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine.  These chemicals work together to make you feel good. –Natural Therapy Pages

Exercise also helps improve coordination and weight loss both of which can help build confidence in one’s self.

treasuringthemoments.net child running

What We Can Do About It

Get our kids outside.  Some ideas for our younger ones could be tag, basketball, soccer, jumping on a trampoline or even water fights. For our older kids they could do an aerobic video, jog, take a brisk walk, hike or some other type of sport. (Scheduling hikes in the school year would be a good thing.)

It may not be convenient, it may be difficult and it may be hard to establish a habit of exercise, but one thing for sure, it is necessary.

Let’s teach and encourage our children to exercise for healthy and strong bodies.

 

Filed under: Health/Nutrition

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