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ACE Insights | How physical activity can make children love their bodies



Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence is important for motor development as well as for overall health and fitness. In addition, sound physical activity behavior in the early years can help provide a foundation for life-long exercise and appreciation for physical activity. Unfortunately, most children do not get enough exercise. In 2016, only 21.6% of children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 in the United States said they had at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise on at least five days a week (National Physical Activity Plan Alliance, 2016). ,

This is significant, not only because physical activity is essential to physical health, but also because exercise can help improve children's body image, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve their health. Read on to learn more about how physical activity can be an effective way to teach children to love their bodies.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Adolescents
Children and adolescents (6 to 1

7 years) should at least collect 60 minutes of physical activity daily and should include a combination of the following:
• Aerobic Activity: Most of 60 minutes or more should either be medium or high intensity aerobic exercise. It is recommended to engage in intensive activity for at least three days.
• Muscle Strengthening Activities: At least three days a week, part of the minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity should include muscle strengthening activities. Older children and adolescents can do traditional weight-lifting activities on request. Younger kids can benefit from stooping, lifting and pulling games – think of climbing frames and obstacle courses on surrounding playgrounds.
• Bone strengthening activities: Children and adolescents should participate in their 60-minute or more daily physical activity. Strengthens bone activity at least three days a week. Sports and activities that have an impact, especially jumps, jumps and jumps, are desirable for strengthening bones.

Activities that are fun and age-appropriate should be highlighted (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2019). It is well known that physical activity is important for the prevention and management of chronic diseases, but what else can regular exercise do for children?

Physical activity can help to counteract stress and anxiety. 19659007] Anxiety disorders are the largest mental illness in the US, affecting more than 40 million adults each year. Anxiety disorders are the most common among 13- to 17-year-olds, with the average age of onset at 6 years (Merikangas et al., 2010). Physical activity improves mood and can reduce stress. Health psychologists assume that regular exercise can have a "brain buffer effect". When the stressors of life take a toll on us, this physical activity buffer can help counteract unpleasant and difficult emotions. (Weir, 2011).

When children adopt healthy behavior during physical activity early on, this coping mechanism is already established when life gives them the proverbial lemon. Children can view their physical activity – and their strong, physically responsive bodies – as an advantage when everything else in the life feels overwhelming.

Physical activity improves the body image.
Body image – what a person believes or emotionally feels about the shape, weight and overall appearance of the body – or is influenced by the media, the family, cultural groups and personal psychological factors. A negative body image is often accompanied by a distorted perception of one's own appearance and is accompanied by persistent feelings of discomfort, shame or fear for one's own body. By contrast, people with a positive body image see themselves as they really are.

In a recent national survey, 83% of women and 74% of men said they were dissatisfied with the look of their bodies (Ipsos, 2018). While dissatisfaction in the body does not necessarily equate to a negative body image, this employment can become a source of insecurity and affect self-esteem. Regular physical activity has been shown to improve both body image and self-esteem (Campbell and Hausenblas, 2009). In addition, physical activity and body image can interact with each other. Children with positive body images rather believe that they can succeed in sports activities. When they join in and succeed, positive feelings about their bodies are amplified.

Physical activity can be an effective tool for shaping other health behaviors.
The main causes of premature death and reduced quality of life In the US, all refer to the choice of health behavior: smoking, inactivity, poor diet, and excessive alcohol consumption (CDC, 2016). When we teach children that their health behavior decisions have an immediate and lasting impact on their feelings, we give them a head start and a sense of agency over their personal health and well-being. Once children understand the connection between physical activity and health, we can use this model to encourage them to adopt other health-promoting behaviors. When we focus on personal behavior rather than body size, competition or other people's physical abilities, we encourage body-positive emotions.

The lure of electronics and video games makes it harder for children to move to the recommended 60s minutes a day. When parents, health professionals, and other people who care about children take up this commitment, we can help young people to love their bodies, not just in their youth, but throughout their lives.

never too late to learn and expand your customer offers! Take a look at other ACE certifications or ACE Specialist programs, such as the Youth Fitness Specialist program.

References
Campbell, A., and Hausenblas, H.A. (2009). Effects of movement interventions on the body image: a meta-analysis. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 6, 780-793.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Prevention and Health Promotion of Chronic Diseases: Overview of Chronic Diseases.

Ipsos. News and Polls (2018). Most Americans feel dissatisfied with how their body looks from time to time.

Merikangas, K.R., et al. (2010). Lifetime prevalence of adolescent mental health disorders in the United States: National Comorbidity Survey Replication results – Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49, 10, 980-989

National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (2018). American card of physical activity for children and adolescents.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2019). Executive Summary: Guidelines for physical activity for Americans, 2nd edition.

Weir, K. (2011). The exercise effect. American Psychological Association. Monitor on Psychology, 42, 11, 48.


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