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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and overall fitness. That's why MOVE is one of the four parts of the FIT Platform along with FOOD, MOOD, and RECHARGE. When families work together on all four of these areas, everyone's health improves.

You already know how regular activity benefits your health. Exercise helps to:

  • Improve strength and endurance
  • Build healthy bones and muscles
  • Improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Build confidence and self-esteem
  • Control weight
  • Lower the risk of diabetes and certain cancers
  • Prevent osteoporosis

But you may not be aware of how moving affects your overall fitness -- that balance between mind, body, and spirit. Moving your body every day has a positive effect on the other components of the FIT platform, too.

MOVE Balances the Energy You Get From FOOD

To stay at a healthy weight, you need to balance the number of calories you eat with the number of calories you burn each day. Being physically active helps you do that. When you are active, your body uses more calories than when it is at rest.

And did you know that being inactive and eating unhealthy foods can actually increase your appetite? Not moving every day and eating unhealthy foods both decrease the hormone leptin in your body. "Leptin is what tells you you're full," says Jenna Johnson, MS, a diabetes center and cardiac rehab manager with Sanford Health. "It tells you that you no longer need more food." In fact, extremely obese people tend not to respond to leptin and may never feel truly satiated.

By moving more and eating healthfully, Johnson explains, you can reset your body chemistry so that you have less of a hunger response.

To learn more about the FIT Platform and weight, read FIT Connection: Weight Management.

MOVE Regularly to Improve Your MOOD

Looking to cure a bad mood? Move your body! Studies have shown that exercise is good for your emotional well-being. Exercise is a known mood-booster and stress-reliever. It will leave you feeling relaxed and in a better mood.

"People who exercise regularly tend to feel they deal better with stress and tend to sleep better," says David Ermer, MD, child psychiatrist with Sanford Health. "Moving your body is a very positive, pro-health way to deal with stress."

Being active helps improve your mood and outlook in more than one way. The sense of accomplishment from being active helps build self-esteem. Exercise also increases the amount of mood-enhancing brain chemicals that our bodies produce. So physical activity is a natural way to help improve your overall outlook. That means when families make everyday activity a priority, kids learn healthy ways to ease anxiety and boost their mood.

 

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