According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one third of American children between the ages of 10–17 are either overweight or obese, and only 25% of children get the recommended amount of daily physical activity. Considering how much energy children can have, it’s a bit shocking to see some of these statistics. However, due to the increasing amount of technology, academic pressure, and urbanized living, it’s not shocking that children aren’t getting a healthy amount of exercise.
Not only does exercise exert energy for children, but there are a plethora of other benefits that can help shape a child’s health and living patterns for the rest of their life. As older adults (well, older than children), it’s important that we understand these benefits and help our children model these healthy behaviors.
At Mercury Academy of Dance, we understand that the health of your children is important to you, which is why it is important to us. Dance is also an incredible way to keep your child active and healthy, both physically and mentally. We offer a variety of dance classes, performance opportunities, and so much more. So let’s take a look at some of the benefits that physical activity can bring into your child’s life.
Better Academic Performance
This is every parent’s dream right here, and while the phrase “dumb jock” gets tossed around, it’s actually the opposite. Physical and cognitive development go hand in hand, and engaging in physical activity allows the brain to develop in new ways, which can lead to more creative thinking and higher academic test scores in both reading and math. Physical activity that requires a higher degree of sensory input also helps to develop a wider array of skills that can help make physical activity more enjoyable as an adult, which is something we can all condition ourselves to.
Better Mental Health
Just like adults do, children struggle with their mental well-being. Engaging in physical activity is something that has been proven to show that exercise helps the brain release endorphins, which can help children who may be feeling depressed or anxious. Dance as exercise is also an incredible source of stress relief, which is something that can be extremely beneficial even if you don’t think your child is showing signs of being stressed. We all remember how stressful life could be when we were growing up, and with even more pressures for our children today, exercise could be the perfect way to help them destress in a healthy way!
While body issues can be prevalent for both boys and girls, it’s important to create a healthy relationship with food and exercise for your child. Regular exercise with children helps to promote self-efficacy with regard to their own health and self image. This is extremely important, especially due to the heavy level of social media with which our children are engaging. Even if your child is not speaking up about comparisons of their own body to others, enlisting healthy views of exercise and food into your child’s life at an early age will help combat unhealthy behaviors like eating disorders.
Better Physical Health
This one is a no brainer. Of course those who engage in physical activity are usually healthier than those who don’t. But when we say “healthier,” it’s important that you understand what that truly means. Physical activity, such as dance, helps a child improve their endurance, flexibility, and strength, which help a multitude of aspects within their bodies. Many children even engage in these types of activities without even knowing it; but as a parent, encouraging them to continue these activities is important.
Endurance activities like dance, and other high intensity activities are all incredible when helping children improve their heart and cardiovascular health. This is especially important because heart disease is the number one killer in America, so starting them off with a healthy heart really does make a difference.
Dance also encourages children to bend, stretch, and reach helps their flexibility, which can help a child decrease muscle stiffness, soreness, and their chances of injury. It also helps promote good posture while increasing relaxation.
Dance also helps to build up muscle strength, which can lead to healthier development. Practicing various exercises at a ballet barre, doing center work, and even dance conditioning is unlike so many other sports. Dance has a high focus on keeping the body equal, and unlike most sports, you practice your “good side” just as much as your bad side.
Keep your child healthy through the beautiful art form of dance! Learn more about the various classes we offer and connect with us today to enroll!