5 reasons exercise makes families happier | NPNparents.org

Regular exercise makes for happier families.

Kids are supposed to get 60 minutes of exercise per day, and adults should be exercising for 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. That's the amount of time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children and adults should be devoting to aerobic, bone-strengthening and muscle-building activity. 

But, as parents know, the allure of tablets, smartphones and TV can be so strong for some kids that simply getting them off the couch is a herculean effort, much less exercise for an hour every day. And parents are so busy dividing their time between their kids and their jobs that there's little time left to hit the gym.

Here's the thing, though: If you're going to make time for anything, it should be exercise. Why? Physical activity makes everyone in the family happier and healthier. Here's how:

1. Regular exercise helps the brain stay focused. Several recent studies have shown that exercise improves not only kids' ability to focus in school, but also their cognitive performance and brain function. In fact, regular physical activity has been show to treat the symptoms of children with ADHD, helping them score higher on tests. The same goes for adults: Regular exercise helps keep your mind from straying at work.

2. Exercise is built-in "me time" for adults. Parents need and deserve breaks from their kids. Exercise gives you that gift: a time when you have no choice but to focus on yourself. You don't even need to belong to a gym—take up running as a cheap, low-time-comittment form of exercise. Regardless of which type of workout you choose, when you're done sweating it out, you'll have more mental and physical energy to keep up with your kids.

3. Your whole family will sleep better and feel more confident. Exercise releases serotonin and dopamine in the body, chemicals that improve mood and your sense of well-being. The calming effect of these chemicals also help you fall asleep easier. The more kids are able to achieve physically, the more confidence they'll have in their schoolwork. The more parents exercise, the better they feel about themselves. Everybody wins!

4. Making time to exercise sets a great example for your kids. According to American Academy of Pediatrics, kids whose parents make fitness a priority are more likely to do so themselves. Developing a habit of exerciseing early on will help ensure your kids will keep it up for the rest of their lives.

5. Exercise can help you bond as a family. All you multitasking parents, listen up: You can knock out your child's 60-minute daily fitness requirement and nearly half of your weekly exercise goal all at once. That doesn't mean you all need to start pumping iron together—exercise can come in many forms. Gardening together, walking the dog, having a dance party: All of these activities count as exercise and double as quality family time, too. 

Need a fitness goal for you and your kids? Register for the Humboldt Park 5k on August 14, which includes a one-mile kids' race. Find more upcoming family-friendly races at RamRacing.

Related articles:

The best way to get in shape after baby

Limit screen time for a happier, healthier kid

A British expat on teaching kids manners


Posted on July 19, 2016 at 2:23 PM