Both Structured and Unstructured fitness can provide children with opportunities for physical activities.

Diane H. Craft, Ph.D., Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

EXERCISE MUST BECOME A FAMILY PRIORITY IN ORDER FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES TO HAVE A FIGHTING CHANCE AGAINST FUTURE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSAULTS.

This is what we dedicate ourselves to. Our events are geared around family fun. We get the family fit together by having family-oriented workout sessions. These sessions are an astounding opportunity for families to be active together every day…or as much as possible, make and keep family fitness goals, learn together, get healthy, lose weight, gain muscle, have fun, create memories, and cheer for one another. The more involved your family is in physical activities, the healthier everyone can be.

During early childhood our children are more willing to try new activities. Physical activities promotes healthy growth and development. It helps build a healthier body composition, stronger bones and muscles, and improves the child’s cardiovascular fitness. Physical activities helps in the development of better motor skills and in concentration and thinking skills. 

We must integrate physical activities into our children’s lives to create a foundation of movement and activity which will be carried with them throughout the rest of their lives. Children who have higher levels of physical activity during their childhood are likely to be more active even after they mature. This is important for better health and well-being.

WHY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS SO CRUCIAL FOR PRESCHOOLERS

According to Dr. Kyle Pruett a Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and Educational Advisory Board member for The Goddard School, an early childhood education franchise and leading preschool teaching learning through play (www.goddardschool.com), growth in strength, coordination, and agility are only part of the picture.

Children are bundles of seemingly endless energy. They love to dance, skip, and run a lot. Thanks to the growth in their muscles, children usually can pedal a bike, climb a small tree, and bounce and catch a ball. But, this menu of skills isn’t merely devoted to getting children ready for sports someday in the future. Physical activity and exercise of any kind are especially important to the rapidly developing preschooler brain.

Physical activity encourages the growth of connections between the brain cells responsible for paying attention and memory, which in turn increases the capacity for learning and problem-solving (which is why keeping a child in from recess as punishment for misbehavior is exactly the wrong approach because of this particular effect on the brain). Activities that require keeping one’s balance or using one’s arms or feet in coordination (swinging, jumping rope) are especially beneficial to helping the child develop attentional focus, alertness and spatial awareness (where the body is in space in relation to other people or objects). 

Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey, M.D., has called such activity “Miracle-Gro for the brain.” Active physical exertion helps stabilize the part of the brain responsible for the fight-or-flight response in children who are under stress, either momentarily or over longer periods of time. Simply put, physical activity can act as insulation against the negative effects of stress on the body and mind, particularly in the young. Parents can support physical activity in their preschooler’s day by starting with yourself. Set an example by being physically active, personally and with your child, and talking about how it helps you feel and think better.

According to Harvard Health, regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living, and the immune system is very responsive to exercise. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.

Several epidemiologic studies suggest that regular physical activity is associated with decreased mortality and incidence rates for influenza and pneumonia. Data support a clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and illness risk. Regular exercise, fitness, and physical activity are critically important for the health and well-being of people of all ages and weight. Even among frail and very old adults, mobility and functioning can be improved through physical activity. 

As adults we need to be concern about the well-being of our children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity fosters normal growth and development, improves overall health, can reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, and can make people feel better, function better, and sleep better. Some health benefits start immediately after physical fitness began. 

Exercise can reduce around two dozen physical and mental health conditions and slow down how quickly the body ages. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality from many chronic diseases. Therefore, physical fitness should be a priority for all Americans.

Family is the reason why physical fitness is a part of our obstacle course event. Our events are geared around family fun. We get the family fit together by having family-oriented workout sessions. These sessions are an astounding opportunity for families to be active together every day…or as much as possible, make and keep family fitness goals, learn together, get healthy, lose weight, gain muscle, have fun, create memories, and cheer for one another The more involved your family is in physical activity, the healthier they will be.

You and the children can start a lifetime love of wellness, fitness, and competition at the Brutal Fitness Challenge Children Series. This event incorporates physical fitness in order to promote a healthy lifestyle for the whole family.