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April 27, 2015
Childhood obesity is a growing problem, and while this can largely be blamed on the unhealthy diet that many parents both consume and feed their children, it can be even more heavily attributed to the low levels of physical activity that children today display. Prompting children to be more active is not enough. It is important to find an activity that the child in question enjoys, and for many children, yoga could be the thing that finally decreases their inactivity.
The effects of inactivity on children are widespread and numerous. Obesity is one of the first things that people think of when they hear that children are inactive, but it does not stop there. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels can all occur in children who are inactive. Conversion of nutrients to muscle occurs much less frequently than storage as fat in inactive kids. Inactivity leads to respiratory problems, and prolonged periods of inactivity lead to exercise intolerance when physical activity is resumed.
It is more difficult to reverse these effects than it is to prevent them, and it is much easier to change inactive habits in childhood than it is during adulthood. Studies show that it takes only three weeks to develop a habit, and children are more likely to continue doing something than adults are. Statistics show that children who are involved in regular class or team-based exercise are more likely to continue doing group exercises later in life. This leads to less inactive children and adults overall.
Yoga can be used to relieve some of the effects of inactivity. Muscles become stronger and more flexible than they were after prolonged inactivity. Circulation is improved, leading to healthier organ functioning. Respiratory problems that may be present are improved, and children who practice yoga are better able to control their breathing. Kids who practice yoga also have better immune functioning, which leads to less occurrence of illness or injury.
Getting kids moving is the only way to lessen their level of inactivity, and yoga is a stress-free and low-impact exercise that can start this process. The benefits of yoga are many, and children who practice yoga are more likely to lead healthy lifestyles than those who do not practice yoga but display high levels of inactivity. Using a fun exercise like yoga is the most effective method of increasing activity levels in young or older children.
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