Importance of proper rest and exercise for children

While healthy eating is considered essential for the healthy growth and development of your child’s body, you need to understand that adequate exercise and proper rest also contribute to your child’s health and wellbeing. And here’s why.

Girl Playing with Hula Hoop

The need for Physical Exercise

Exercise contributes significantly to physical health and wellbeing by controlling body weight, promoting muscle strength and improving bone strength. Exercises would also help boost the strength of the body’s immune system, thereby giving it ability to fight off certain health conditions and diseases on its own.

Exercise Requirements for Children

Physical activity is essentially made of three components, strength, endurance and flexibility. Children can get all the three components via simple day to day tasks like running to catch the school bus, leaning over to polish shoes, crossing the monkey bars, running up and down the stairs or playing tag with friends. All of these activities would help build stamina and get the heart pumping, thereby increasing the adrenaline and energy levels.

It is also considered wise to incorporate a daily exercise routine for your child, comprising of a combination of moderate exercises like walking and running to more vigorous aerobic exercises like swimming, at regular intervals throughout the day. Bone strengthening activities like running or skipping can be include thrice a week while gymnastics and other muscle strengthening activities can be included twice a week to increase body strength and flexibility.


The need for Rest

Not many know that adequate rest would actually rejuvenate the body. After completing multiple activities during the day, your child would need plenty of rest to recharge his/her body and mind. Adequate rest would also improve brain health and function, including boosting memory power and concentration.

Sleep Requirements for Children

A child would require varying hours of uninterrupted sleep in accordance with his/her age. For instance, while newborn babies would require at least 13 hours of total sleep, toddlers would need at least 12 hours of proper sleep. Children from 5-11 years would need at least 11 hours of proper sleep while children from 12-16 years would require at least 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Combining Exercise and Rest

While many parents feel that exercising right before bedtime would make a child tired enough to fall asleep immediately, the exact opposite actually happens. Exercising would keep the body active for long periods, thus making it difficult for a child to sleep immediately afterwards. Therefore, it is considered wise to make your child exercise at least a couple of hours before bed time in order to facilitate proper sleep.


Exercise and rest are equally important as healthy eating when it comes to maintaining the health and well- being of a child. Therefore, parents should take these points into consideration when planning out their child’s diet and activity charts in order to make sure that their child benefits from all these three aspects.


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