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Benefits of Exercise for Children with Chronic Health Conditions

November 18, 2013 by Eric Coles

Benefits of Physical Exercise for Children with Chronic Health ConditionsFor children that have special needs due to a chronic health condition, exercise can be challenging.  With colder months, the chances of these children even being able to get out into the fresh air is rare.  There is no dispute that all children need social, mental and physical balance in their lives and this is even more important for those children that may have restrictions on activities due to a chronic health condition.

Benefits of Exercise for Children with Chronic Health Conditions:

  • Can improve muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility.
  •  Regular exercise builds endurance and cardiovascular efficiency
  • Enhances balance, motor skills and body awareness.
  • Exercise improves mood and helps children cope with anxiety and depression.
  •  Will boost their self-esteem.
  •  Can give the child a sense of accomplishment.
  • Exercise increases appetite and improves quality of sleep.
  • May see a decrease in secondary health complications like obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and diabetes.


How to Overcome the Challenges:

Physical challenges can be a difficult barrier to overcome.  Many parents believe that because of their disability, their children cannot be physically active, which is not necessarily true. This lack of physical activity may not only lead to obesity, but can lead to secondary health problems as well.to many other numerous health problems as well. (NCHPAD)

Aquatic Activities for Children with Chronic Health ConditionsParents and caregivers can work with physicians, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals to develop a program that is appropriate for your child and their diagnosis. Covering the basics of physical activity guidelines within your child's range is important.  

Touching base with local hospitals, organizations and organizations like the YMCA can be a good source of exercise programs that are tailored to children with special needs.  Parents will need to do the legwork -  while 15% - 18% of children and adolescents in the United States have a chronic condition or disability, opportunities for their participation in fitness and activity programs, whether for leisure, recreation, or competition, are limited.  

Find out what physical activities are possible for your child and their condition.  Children with Sickle Cell Anemia have a difficult time with distance activities but may find aquatic activities a source of fun and better health.  Parents should monitor the activities to ensure that children don't overdo it, rest when tired, and drink plenty of water. (CDC)

Avoid cabin fever for the winter months and find some activities that work well indoors: making your child a sous chef, make music and have a dance party, check out some of the exercise-oriented video games. However you can get your children moving will benefit them (and you!).

Xickle RBC-Plus™ is the perfect supplement to take when you are doing vigorous exercise and worried about the possible after effects.  It is effective for all ages, but specially formulated for individuals under the age of 18.

Check out Xickle today!


Additional Sources and Resources:
http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2013/12_0283.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19046177

http://www.choa.org/child-health-glossary/k/ki/kids-and-exercise_kh_parent

http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/chronic.htm


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