The late 20th century was an era plagued by supersized fast food meals and TV worshiping. Fitness was diminished to thumb exercises from playing video games and wrist lifts from getting the remote control off the coffee table. Chronic diseases and nutrition-based lawsuits stemming from widespread childhood obesity brought a nationwide health epidemic to the forefront. Lessons were learned, and the new century brought a heightened awareness of health and fitness including the proliferation of organic foods, trendy fitness programs, yoga, and even sit-stand desks at work.

Why Fitness is Important

By now, it’s obvious to us why fitness is important. But in a nation where 45% of people still suffer from at least one chronic disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, there is still much work to be done. How do we end the cycle? We need to encourage healthy habits and exercise from early childhood. A child who exercises now is more likely to keep up the habit as an adult and have a better quality of life.

How Fitness Helps Your Mind and Body

Research indicates that regular exercise helps your kiddos develop stronger bones, muscles, and tissue. If your kid struggles with self-confidence, a regular fitness program may be the answer to boosting their self-esteem. Children need at least an hour a day of physical activity, with spurts of high-intensity playing or exercising. This doesn’t mean you have to assign them 100 sit-ups and push-ups everydayyou can keep it fun by taking them to the playground, letting them climb the jungle gym, or encouraging them to join a game of tag outside with friends.  

For those in their 20s, exercise is important for preventing diseases, like osteoporosis, and for women preparing for pregnancy. As you reach your 30s, you now have to worry about muscle loss, slowed metabolism, inflammation, and a higher propensity for disease. And when you start climbing ‘over the hill’, balance and coordination can become challenging. The good news is that physical fitness can make a significant difference at all age levels according to numerous studies.

How Fitness Affects The Brain

According to a study performed by a clinical health psychologist, 20-40 minutes of exercise significantly increases parts of the brain associated with problem solving and analytical skills. Other benefits of exercise for children include a sharper memory, better thinking skills, and better performance in school. For young and middle-aged adults running in the ever-so-draining rat race, physical fitness helps sustain your mental stamina throughout the day. Try fitting in a 20-minute workout in the morning instead of stopping at Starbucks. And for our oldies but goodies, studies show that exercising three times a week produced greater brain volume and greater health.

→ Complement your exercise program with the right foods for your children and family.

→ Need a doctor that will see your child at 1 am in the morning? Visit HHER’s 24-hour emergency clinic in Tyler or Longview.