There’s a lot of concern about how sedentary our children’s lives are becoming. So how much exercise do they need in order to be healthy?
According to some studies, one out of three American children are overweight. Another report claims that two thirds of North Americans are risking their health and quality of life simply because they’re too inactive. Those are pretty staggering numbers. Since inactivity can lead to such conditions as osteoporosis, heart disease, and adult onset diabetes, helping our children to be physically active now will only pay off in the long run. Fitness consultant Judy Notay says it’s important to make fitness a part of children’s lives on a regular basis because “if it’s part of their lifestyle then they will be active as adults. So make sure that your kids are active every day for up to an hour. The more kids are active every day, the more likely they will be as an adult.”
Being physically fit doesn’t necessarily mean enrolling your child in the first team sport that comes along adds Notay. “Research shows that in order to feel good about being physically active there has to be some degree of success. So a lot of low-skill children get turned off of team sports because they’re too competitive. So select programs carefully, at their skill level and where they can be successful. If the kids are successful then they’re going to want to keep swimming or moving up in the baseball league.”
And the benefits of fitness go beyond physical. Research shows that kids who are physically active concentrate better in the classroom. Rick Bell, professor of physical education at the University of Victoria says “the academic benefits of being physically fit have been researched quite extensively and studies show that when time is allocated on a daily basis there’s no negative impact on the academic achievement of children. Typically children who are active have more energy and can concentrate more, so it makes better use of the time used for academic achievement in our schools.”
However if you thought that your child’s school was ensuring that students receive at least 30 minutes of physical education a day, think again. According to Professor Bell many of our children’s schools wouldn’t get passing grades when it comes to teaching our kids the benefits of fitness. “Typically at the elementary school level children are receiving two half-hour lessons a week. There are exceptions, but that’s the rule.”
It’s now recommended that children aged 5 to 17 get sixty minutes of accumulated exercise a day in order to promote normal growth and development. So get outside and play with your children, toss balls, go swimming, cycling and play in the parks. It’s one of the best thing you can do to protect your children’s health for a lifetime.
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.
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