How Exercise Benefits the Entire Family

Maintaining an active lifestyle together plays a key role in optimizing the entire family’s overall health and outlook on life. When families join together to exercise, numerous benefits have been seen. Not only does activity keep our joints lubed, muscles strengthened, and tendons and ligaments flexible, but it also supports a healthy mood. Teaching children about the benefits of exercise at a young age will lay the groundwork for them to establish lifelong habits for a healthier future.
 
Physical activity strengthens muscles, improves cardiovascular health, supports the immune system, assists with regulating blood sugar and weight, but that’s not all! Physical activity is vital for children for various reasons, and starting at a young age is best as they quickly embrace what we show them. Recent studies have seen that children’s brain’s actually grow with exercise. “Researchers now show that when children exercise it affects their brain structure, which may create better academic performance with a greater volume of gray matter in several cortical and subcortical brain regions.”

Also, when exercising, the body releases specific chemicals and hormones that improve mood. This is a valuable advantage for adolescents particularly, as stress, anxiety, and depression are troubles for many. Exercise also improves sleep by helping individuals fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Proper sleep is crucial to both children and adults; however, for children, it's imperative, as it's proven that they need more sleep than adults.
 
Leading by example and choosing activities together as a family lead to greater outcomes for children to join in. When parents make exercise a priority, set goals, make time, and plan activities as part of their normal day, children see us making the effort, and they are more likely to be motivated to succeed. Whether it’s walking, jumping rope, hiking, jogging, cycling, swimming, practicing the sports they're involved in, playing on the playground, or trying a new activity, it’s important to ask them what they would like to do because they're more likely to engage and be enthusiastic about the activity if they have a choice.
 
Families that exercise together build stronger relationships and strengthen family bonds. Children feel a closer connection with their parents through shared interests and activities. Laughing, playing, and talking together helps strengthen communication with each other, and enables parents to get to know their children more when they talk about what is going on in each other’s lives. These moments together create invaluable memories for families that will last a lifetime.
 
Having a strong supportive family network motivates and encourages will power to stick with fitness routines, and some kids may enjoy working out even more through tracking activity and measuring progress with apps or smartwatches. Also, working out as a team and making activity fun for kids will help them want to continue. 
 
Confidence and self-esteem are essential for kids’ development. Family support when completing a task, like hitting a ball correctly, can build confidence and a sense of self-worth in our children. Showing them how to do the task, offering encouragement, positive reinforcement, and acknowledgement, no matter the result of the task, can boost confidence and motivate them to achieve success.
 
So go outside and have fun together. The entire family will begin to feel healthier, stronger, connected, brighter, more confident, and closer.