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Contemporary Parenting Questions

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Last updated on 12/07/08

Is it important for kids to exercise?

Regular exercise and proper nutrition are the keys to good health, regardless of age. When children are fit at an early age, they are more likely to remain active and physically fit throughout their lives. Most children love to run, jump, climb and play games. Outdoor activities give kids the chance to use up some of their energy, develop coordination, and build strength and confidence. Unfortunately, computers, video games and television, are taking up more and more of children's leisure time. As our kids spend more time inside and are less active, they are at higher risk for becoming overweight, feeling tired or lazy, and losing muscle tone.

Children and adolescents are much more likely to engage in regular physical activity if they have the support of their family and friends. It is important for parents and caregivers to be positive role models. It is also important that children and adolescents participate in sports or activities that are fun. Forcing a child to engage in a disliked activity provides little motivation and may discourage the child from exercising all together.

In the Jewish Community

Jewish kids spend most of their daylight hours in a classroom. Boys leave only to return from school late in the evening, drained from a packed day of intense learning. With so much to teach and so little time, Jewish children, especially boys, tend to miss out on the extended recess hours and gym classes that non-Jewish schools tend to offer. In some communities, organized sports are looked down upon, and even the athletic children refrain from playing.

Although learning is important, parents and educators must realize that exercise is vital. Exercise and sports provide a healthy outlet in which children are able to let out their pet-up energy. Without physical activity, it is almost impossible for children to achieve their academic goals.

Use the following links to educate yourself about the importance of exercise for children. Learn how to motivate your child to exercise and find out where your child can learn more about the importance of exercise.

Frequently Asked Links

Why is regular physical exercise important for children? more

Why does my child dislike sports?

What should I do if my child does not like sports?

What are some of the benefits of exercise? more

Why is exercise necessary for the mental wellbeing of children?

By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

How can exercise provide a healthy outlet for teenagers? more

By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

How can I motivate my child to be active?

How can I help my child get active?

Should I start my child on an exercise program?

How much physical activity should my child get each day?

How much exercise is enough?

What is compulsive exercise?

Related Articles

How can I prevent children’s sports injuries?

Should athletic kids eat differently?

Resources

BigSoccer.com
http://www.bigsoccer.com
This site features soccer links from around the world, chats, and more.

Kids Sports Network
http://www.ksnusa.org
This organization promotes quality nonschool sports and fitness for children between the ages of 3 and 19 through coaches, education, special events and activities, public awareness, and regular networking with youth sports organizations and agencies.

Sports Illustrated for Kids
http://www.sikids.com
This website features sports information for kids, including articles on famous athletes, games and quizzes.

National Youth Sports Safety Foundation
http://www.nyssf.org
This organization offers a newsletter with helpful safety tips and facts about sports injury prevention.

BAM! Body and Mind
http://www.bam.gov
This CDC website is designed for 9- to 13-year-olds and addresses health, nutrition, fitness, and stress. It also offers games for kids.

VERB
http://www.verbnow.com
This graphic-intensive website aims to get kids moving. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control.

MyPyramid.gov
http://www.mypyramid.gov
The U.S. government's website about the MyPyramid Plan Food Guidance System features information on the food pyramid and its 12 models geared to different people, online tools, and dietary guidelines.

American Council on Exercise (ACE)
http://www.acefitness.org
ACE promotes active, healthy lifestyles by setting certification and education standards for fitness instructors and through ongoing public education about the importance of exercise.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
http://www.aap.org
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org
This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.

Rabbi Horowitz does not endorse any external sites or monitor or approve content on these sites. When considering information presented here, you should consult your experts to determine what is best for you. Our sole purpose is to help you access information that Rabbi Horowitz and others have made available on the internet.

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