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How Much Physical Activity Should Your Child Be Getting?

Posted Aug 28 2009 8:00pm
Most reputable sources, including the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children get at least sixty minutes of physical activity per day. For children, this does not have to be consecutive, but can be spread throughout the day.




For example, if they are getting twenty minutes of activity playing softball in PE, ten minutes of running at recess and thirty minutes of basketball after school with his friends, your child is meeting the standard.




Regular exercise will not only help your child be healthy, but aids in growing strong self-esteem, sleep better and have more energy. It is also shown to decrease anxiety and depression.




Children, unlike adults, are not spending their exercise time on the treadmill or at the gym, where they may be able to monitor their time and calories burned. This provides parents with the challenge of making sure that their child is getting enough exercise. If your child is active but still gaining weight, it is likely that the cause is his diet, not his level of activity. If that is the case, take a look at your child’s diet and snacking habits and consult with the USDA standards for guidance.




Remember that children are not likely to stick with exercise programs the way adults do. They do better with lifestyle changes that involve free play and team or individual youth sports.




If you want your child to be more active, get the whole family involved – don’t just “send them out to play.” Going out to play catch or tag with your child or simply going for a walk will benefit you both.




Have your kids take the stairs instead of an elevator or walk to school or a friend’s house, rather than always be driven.




By being involved in your child’s activity, you can better monitor that they are getting the sixty minutes of exercise a day that they require to grow into healthy, happy adolescents and adults.



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