We all know that physical activity is beneficial. But, did you know that physical activity, especially during the day, can make a difference in your child's mental and emotional health, too? It’s true! Taking that walk at lunch with your kids or having a quick yoga break in the morning can make a world of difference in your child’s mental and emotional well-being, but many kids aren’t getting that.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), only 25% of kids get the amount of physical activity they need. That leaves 75% of kids having less than the recommended amount of physical activity. Their recommendations for physical activities by age include:


But why is prioritizing physical activity important? Why does it matter? Making time for physical activity every day can have benefits beyond physical wellness. Prioritizing active times during the day can help your kids boost their concentration at school, diffuse stress by releasing endorphins, and improve their self-esteem and their sleep quality.

No matter their age, physical activity also provides kids with new ways to cope with stress and opportunities to build new social relationships. Making time for physical activity throughout your child’s day not only gives them the opportunity for social time either with friends or family but also gives them a break from screens. Instead of watching TV on the couch or playing games on a cell phone or tablet, kids can learn that staying active is a fun alternative. Plus, the added social time can lead to strengthened relationships and heightened motivation along with all the other benefits of movement that lead to overall improved mental health.

For teens and older kids specifically, exercise can lower the chances of depression and decrease feelings of anxiety. The positive impacts of serotonin levels (a regulatory chemical), releasing endorphins (the body’s “happy chemicals”), and lower levels of stress hormones are some of the scientifically proven reasons that contribute to improved mental health from exercise. Additionally, exercise gives the body and brain a sense of accomplishment which helps boost self-confidence and body positivity.

One of the reasons why being active can give the brain a sense of accomplishment is that moving the body doesn’t have to be complicated, or even require equipment. Going for a walk or hike, dancing, or doing yoga at home is just as good as playing a competitive sport or going for a run. The most important thing is to get your child moving in a way that feels good to them.

The next time that you want to get your child moving, try fitFlow or the Wellness Way Sensory Path for a new way to get active together. No matter how your child moves, they are sure to feel boosted and empowered afterward! 

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