Get Your Kids Away From the TV and Outside To Play

Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign has been a rallying cry calling all to physical activity in the U.S. and beyond. For good reason.

There are major benefits to sports, exercise and other forms of recreation. What is more, starting young helps to produce these benefits right from the beginning and to form habits that can last a lifetime. A survey has found that 90 per cent of Americans who participate in an outdoor activity began to do so between the ages of 5 and 18.

Young people who grow up being physically active are -- hopefully -- more likely to be so as adults. Exercise helps control weight, at least for some, build muscle, achieve healthy cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems and promote strong bone and joint development. Physical activity can also strengthen mental health: relieving depression and increasing self-esteem. It may help to prevent dementia in older adults. There is also research that suggests that exercise is associated with improved academic performance.

What we experience from the first few years of life can greatly influence who we are in later years.

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