Exercise Guide for Children

Kids require exercise. With their developing bodies, they have to grow as healthy as much as possible. Exercise for kids does not mean lifting weights, performing stretching exercises and any those of stuff. For them, exercising is a lot simple. Running around in playgrounds or riding their bikes are the sort of exercises enough for their bodies.

The benefits of exercise to children

Exercise benefits children as well as everyone else. It does not only help them become healthy physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Kids who are active in such activities generally develop:

  • stronger bones and muscles
  • gains an even better outlook in life
  • a leaner body because such an exercise takes away the fats in their bodies lessening the chance of being overweight
  • reduces the chances of acquiring type II diabetes
  • and alleviates blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels

In addition, to all of these, a kid who gets enough exercise usually has a good sleeping pattern and are even better in handling stresses of life both physically and emotionally. The simple everyday tasks of running to catch on a bus, studying for a test or even bending down to tie their shoes becomes practically easy for them.

The three elements of being fit

Endurance

Developed through aerobic exercise, this allows the kids bodies to have a stronger heart, allowing them to acquire the ability to not gasp for breath while or after engaging in a strenuous activity. This is even better when done regularly so the body can get accustomed to it.

Types of sports that engage in aerobic activity or exercise:

  • bicycling
  • basketball
  • ice- or in-line skating
  • swimming
  • soccer
  • tennis
  • walking
  • running
  • jogging

Strength

This can be improved through various activities. But it does not mean they have to lift weights. Push-ups, pull-ups, stomach crunches among others will help them in toning and strengthening their muscles. Other activities like performing handstands, climbing, or even wrestling develop their strength as well.

Flexibility

This is improved through simple stretching exercises. This allows their bodies to bend and reach its fullest when it comes to moving. That simple everyday activity of reaching for a toy, or flipping over the couch are just among the few good example.

Encouraging them to engage in several activities to achieve all these three elements will help them in developing, and eventually, lead them to have healthier lives.

Problems regarding becoming sedentary for kids

Statistically, for the past 30 years, the number of overweight kids has doubled. The main fact that contributed to this fact is that kids are becoming sedentary. They spend more time sitting around doing nothing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP claimed that an average child will spend 3 hours a day watching television. Kaiser Family Foundation, on the other hand, stated that an average child spend 5 and ½ hours with all the types of media combined.

This shows that a child must not remain inactive for more than one hour. For a school-age kid, they must not be inactive for about 2 hours or longer. In other words, a child must have more time being active than being sedentary. It is recommended that a child under the age of 2 should not watch television at all, while for kids of ages 2 years old or older have limited screen time of 1-2 hours.

The exercise depends on the age bracket they are in. The U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA, along with the Department of Health and Human Services or HHS, stated that children 2 years and older should at least get 1 hour of exercise, moderate to rigorous, in all days of the week, if possible. That is, alongside with their eating balanced meals. This was stated in the USDA’s 2005 dietary guidelines.

Recommended daily activity for children

Below is  the activity recommendations for kids made by the National Association for Sports and Physical Education or NASPE.

For Infants

No minimum daily activity required. Physical activity should be encouraged through motor development.

For Toddlers

1 and ½ hours of minimum daily activity required. 30 minutes should be planned physical activity while 60 minutes for unstructured physical activity.

For Preschoolers

2 hours minimum daily activity; 1 hour planned physical activity and 1 hour unstructured physical activity.

For School-age Children

1 hour or more minimum daily activity required. Break up must be about 15 minute or more.

In trying to raise a healthy child, you have to combine regular physical activity and healthy diet. You can begin this by trying to engage them in several physical activities appropriate or their age, establishing a regular schedule for their physical activity, letting them incorporate daily routines like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, letting yourself be the role model by starting a healthier lifestyle, and the best of all, keep it fun for your kid.