A lot of parents think that their children are physically active but the fact is that most children are not meeting the guidelines for physical activity. 8-10 hours of sleep followed by 7-8 hours of sitting in school, and capped off by 4-6 hours in front of the TV or computer is the average agenda for children. In between they are sitting down to meals and riding in the car and that’s just too much sitting.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day to stay healthy. This means that at least one hour of your child’s day should include aerobic tasks, muscle strengthening motions, and bone strengthening movements.
Most of a child’s physical activity should consist of aerobic activity. Activities like bike riding, walking and hiking are classified as moderate intensity and should be included every day. Moderate activities will make your child’s heart beat faster and they will breathe harder but not get out of breath.
More intense activities that get your child’s heart beating even faster are classified as vigorous. Jumping rope, swimming, and running or chasing games often make a child want to stop and catch their breath after a few moments. Children should participate in these activities at least 3 days per week.
To increase muscle strength, your child can climb and swing on playground equipment, wrestle or play tug of war with others, or do push-ups or chin-ups. These daily activities should challenge their muscles but they should not be so difficult that they cannot do them over and over.
Hopping, skipping, jumping, and tumbling are great ways for your child to strengthen their bones every day. Sports that involve kicking, throwing, or swinging are good choices too. Since these activities involve a bit more impact, children should be reminded to use caution and to stop if they feel any discomfort.
Active children are healthy children. By inspiring your child to be active for at least 60 minutes each day, you will be helping them develop healthy habits and attitudes that will last a lifetime.
Dr. Marc Tinsley is a health, fitness, and wellness expert who works with organizations who want to stop losing money and be more productive by taking better care of themselves and their members. He takes the fear, difficulty, mystery, and confusion out of health, wellness, and fitness with keynotes, breakouts, workshops, in-services, teleseminars, webinars, coaching, and consulting.