Kids and Exercise

Posted: March 22, 2018 at 7:41 am


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When most adults think about exercise, they imagine working out in the gym, runningon a treadmill, or lifting weights.

But for kids, exercise means playing and being physically active. Kids exercise when they have gym class at school, during recess, at dance class orsoccer practice, while riding bikes, or when playing tag.

Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. Kids who are active will:

Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better. They're also better able to handle physical and emotional challenges from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.

If you've ever watched kids on a playground, you've seen the three elements of fitness in action when they:

Parents should encourage their kids to do a variety of activities so that they can work on all three elements.

Endurance develops when kids regularly get aerobic activity. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster and a person breathes harder. When done regularly and for extended periods of time, aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body's ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.

Aerobic exercise can be fun for both adults and kids. Aerobic activities include:

Improving strength doesn't have to mean lifting weights. Instead, kids can do push-ups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and other exercises to help tone and strengthen muscles. They also improve their strength when they climb, do a handstand, or wrestle.

Stretching exercises help improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Kids get chances every day to stretch when they reach fora toy, practice a split, or do acartwheel.

Being overweight or obese in childhoodhas become a serious problem. Many things add tothisepidemic, but a big part of it is that kids are becoming more sedentary. In other words, they're sitting around a lot more than they used to.

Kids and teens now spend hours every day in front of a screen (TVs, smartphones, tablets, and other devices)looking at a variety of media (TV shows, videos, movies, games). Too much screen time and not enough physical activity add to the problem of childhood obesity.

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 other screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents:

Parents should make sure that their kids get enough exercise. So, how much is enough? Kids and teens should get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) offers these activity guidelines for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers:

Age

Minimum Daily Activity

Comments

Infant

No specific requirements

Physical activity should encourage motor development

Toddler

1 hours

30 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)

Preschooler

2 hours

60 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)

School age

1 hour or more

Break up into bouts of 15 minutes or more

Infants and young children should not be inactive for long 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.

Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips for raising fit kids:

Date reviewed: December 2016

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Kids and Exercise

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Written by grays |

March 22nd, 2018 at 7:41 am