How much exercise is enough?
When most adults think about exercise, they imagine working out in the gym on a treadmill or lifting weights. But for kids, exercise means playing and being physically active.
Kids exercise when they have PE class at school, soccer training, or dance class.
They’re also exercising on they’re breaks, riding bikes, or playing tag etc
The Many Benefits of Exercise
Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. Kids who are active will:
- have stronger muscles and bones
- have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat
- be less likely to become overweight
- decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- possibly lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
- have a better outlook on life
Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.
The Three Elements of Fitness
If you’ve ever watched kids on a playground, you’ve seen the three elements of fitness in action when they:
- Run away from the kid who’s “it” (endurance)
- Cross the monkey bars (strength)
- Bend down to tie their shoes (flexibility)
Parents should encourage their kids to do a variety of activities so that they can work on all three elements.
is developed when kids regularly engage in aerobic activity. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster and a person breathes harder. When done regularly and for continuous periods of time, aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.
Parents need to ensure that their kids get enough exercise. So, how much is enough? All kids 2 years and older should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise on most, preferably all, days of the week.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) offers expanded activity guidelines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers:
No specific daily requirements and physical activity should encourage motor development.
At least 1 ½ Hours of exercise per day, with 30 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes unstructured physical activity. (free play)
At least 2 hours exercise per day, consisting of 60 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes unstructured physical activity. (free play)
Again 2 Hours minimum per day which can be broken into bouts of 15 minutes or more. Infants and young children should not be inactive for prolonged periods of time – no more than 1 hour unless they’re sleeping and school-age children should not be inactive for periods longer than 2 hours.
Improving Kids Strength
doesn’t have to mean lifting weights. Although some kids benefit from weightlifting, it should be done under the supervision of an experienced adult who works with them.
But most kids don’t need a formal weight-training program to be strong. Push-ups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and other exercises help tone and strengthen muscles. Kids also incorporate strength activities in their play when they climb, do a handstand, swing on the monkey bars or wrestle.
help improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Kids look for opportunities every day to stretch when they try to get a toy just out of reach, practice a split, or do a cartwheel.
The percentage of overweight and obese kids and teens has more than doubled over the past 30 years. Although many factors contribute to this epidemic, children are becoming more sedentary. In other words, they’re sitting around a lot more than they used to.
According to recent study the average child is watching about 3 hours of television a day. And the average kid spends 5½ hours on all screen media combined (TV, videos and DVDs, computer time outside of schoolwork, and video games).
One of the best ways to get kids to be more active is to limit the amount of time spent in sedentary activities, especially watching TV or playing video games.
Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips for raising fit kids:
- Help your child participate in a variety of activities that are age-appropriate.
- Establish a regular schedule for physical activity.
- Incorporate activity into daily routines, such as taking the stairs instead of a lift.
- Embrace a healthier lifestyle yourself, so you’ll be a positive role model for your family.
- Keep it fun, so you can count on your child to come back for more.
Kids enjoy sports more when its FUN!