Features  |  Health  

Why children should engage in exercises

By Maje Ayida, Contributor |   01 November 2018   |   3:21 am  

Children exercising

Sports and exercise are no longer mandatory at the school level and we are not raising active children again.

This is a serious situation in Nigeria, not only was exercise a part of the curriculum, it was part of life.

Years ago, children often craved to play outside and that’s because there weren’t many options.


These outdoor activities include playing football, hide and seek, climbing trees, and returning home at sunset usually when your parents call you for dinner. Children typically arrived home tired and hungry, after a day of fun out in the fresh air.

Today, kids spend more time indoors, glued to their phones, computers or tablets, and less time enjoying outdoor activities.

This is a problem with far-reaching consequences and here are some reasons why kids need to be more active –

Physical health benefits

Exercise makes your kids healthier and less likely to have weight problems as they grow older. Active kids have stronger immune systems, stronger cardiovascular, respiratory systems, bone and muscular structure.

Exercise improves blood flow, ensuring that more oxygen reaches your kid’s heart and brain, promoting higher energy levels.

Activity also makes kids breathe and perspire more efficiently, which helps to naturally remove toxins from the body.

Mental health benefits

A Healthy body leads to a healthy mind – Besides the physical benefits of exercise, studies have shown that active kids also enjoy better mental health, including better memory, ability to focus and concentrate for longer hours.


More confidence and improved social skills – Kids who engage in sports of any kind, whether individual or team oriented, are more confident, able to work well in a team, and develop better social skills.

When kids have high self-esteem, they are more likely to be happier, more optimistic and more inclined to assume leadership roles.

Exercise does not have to be competitive, and kids do not have to play rugby, netball or soccer to reap the benefits. Walks on the beach, an easy hike, or a game of catch with their mates will do.

As long as kids exercise within their limits, don’t overdo it, and enjoy the activity, you will notice positive results you never thought possible.

Exercise produces well-rounded children, some kids are just not sporty and don’t enjoy exercise.

This can be come ingrained in them at a young age, and you can change this. Show them the different ways they can enjoy exercise and explain the benefits.

Active kids often find it easier to connect with their peers and enjoy a healthier and more social existence. My organization, The HIIT Squad, is currently on a tour of schools in Lagos.

Exercise for kids is very important and we will continue this initiative until exercise is once again reincorporated into the school curriculum.


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