Life is hectic for most families. Parents and caregivers have work and kids have school. When you add in the elements of housework, meal making and carpooling, most of us are on overload.

Boy and GirlBut it still is important to make time and pay attention to physical activity for children, as well as parents.

Experts say physical activity is key to good health for a number of reasons:

  • Activity helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure
  • It helps children and adults control weight
  • Activity contributes to healthy bones, muscles and joints
  • It makes you flexible
  • It improves your mood
  • It can provide social interaction
  • It can boost energy

Even more important for students is the fact that physical fitness delivers academic bonuses as well. Researchers say physical fitness has a direct impact on school performance. It also can improve self-image and promote positive social and emotional growth, all of which make for healthier and better students. In addition, studies have shown that aerobic activity may improve memory.

The idea of making sure students get enough physical activity, as well as good nutrition, are all related to the Coordinated Youth Initiative belief that Healthy Kids Make Better Students and Better Students Make Healthy Communities.

While exercise is good for everybody, it provides a double payoff for children, because while they build a healthy base today increasing their capacity for good academic performance, children also are laying the groundwork for a healthier tomorrow.

Experts say it is important for parents to get involved and participate in their children’s activities, because children with involved parents are three times more active than children with inactive parents.

Resources

For Parents

KidsHealth is the largest and most visited site on the Web providing doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Created by The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, the award-winning KidsHealth provides families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health and wellness information.

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady Michelle Obama, to help solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and be able to pursue their dreams. Its website features information on eating healthy and getting active, and it calls for everyone in the in the community–parents, schools, local officials and community leaders–to work together to help solve the issue.

The President’s Challenge is a program that encourages all Americans to make being active part of their everyday lives. No matter what your activity and fitness level, the President’s Challenge can help motivate you to improve. There are special sections for kids, teens, adults, seniors and educators.

WebMD’s Fitness and Exercise web page includes information on the pros and cons of some 40 different types of physical activity, as well as information on popular weight loss and diet plans, tools and calculators and expert blogs.

For Kids

BAM! Body and Mind is an online destination for kids created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Designed for kids 9-13 years old, BAM! Body and Mind gives them the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Kids Health is the largest and most-visited site on the Web providing doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Created by The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, the award-winning KidsHealth provides families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health and wellness information

Olympic, the official website for the Olympic Games is inspiring for all ages. It makes you want to get up off the couch and move! It features photos and videos, information about athletes and all of the sports in the Olympics. It also has information about the Youth Olympic Games.