Parents: if there was something that you could give your children that would make them…

a). improve their school attendance

b). perform better in school

c). improve their behavior

…would it make you stand up and say “I’ll take some of that!”? Well, researchers at the Department of Health and Human Services have determined that there is such a thing: it’s regular physical activity. Simply stated, active kids are healthier kids, not just in body but also in mind.

While the DHHS reminds us that exercise can improve your child’s mental health and school performance, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center is already keenly aware of the benefits of regular exercise to a child’s entire body. Their circulatory system gets a boost – keeping heart muscles strong – and their musculoskeletal system shapes up into toned muscles and resilient bones.

Specifically, kids who exercise will

  • learn social skills when playing a team sport
  • reduce daily stress and anxiety
  • burn calories and keep off unwanted pounds
  • keep their blood pressure in check
  • greatly reduce the risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes

Dr. Wilhelm recommends regular exercise as a direct means to better foot and ankle health, too. Walking, running, playing soccer, basketball, or other team sports all help to put the more than 100 muscles of the foot and ankle into action, keeping them flexible and strong, thereby reducing the chances of injury. Don’t forget to provide your kids with the proper footwear specific to their sport, for the best foot support and protection. Incidentally – both children and adults can benefit from this advice. Get out there with your kids and swim, play, dance, and walk your way to better foot health.

If your child seems reluctant or outright refuses to exercise, take a step back and figure out why. Is he limping? Does he complain that his feet hurt or tire easily? He may have flat feet or some other anatomical issue that need’s a podiatrist’s care.

If you suspect a problem, or if sports injuries to the foot or ankle do descend on your family, count on us for expert diagnoses and quality care. We have extensive experience treating pediatric podiatric problems (say that three times fast!). Call our office in Centreville, VA at (703) 996-3000 or click here to make an appointment online.

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