Like adults, kids need to participate in physical activity to remain healthy. Recent studies show that less than 24% of kids between the ages of 6-17 participated in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. That leaves about 76% of 6–17 year olds to be physically inactive, leading them to higher chances of energy imbalances, increased risk for cardiovascular/chronic diseases, and decreases in bone density.
Kids who are under the age of 6 should participate in natural physical activity like running, playing on the jungle gym, jumping, and skipping. Kids who are between the ages of 6 to 17 should exercise at a higher intensity that includes both vigorous intensity and bone/muscle strengthening activities.
Some simple, yet effective ways to increase your children’s physical activity levels can include:
- Taking advantage of public parks, baseball fields and basketball courts in your community.
- Get your children equipment that encourages physical activity like a jump rope, roller blades, a kickball, etc.
- Making physical activity fun! Fun activities can be anything your child enjoys, whether it is structured or non-structured. Kids are more likely to continue to exercise if they are doing something they enjoy.
- Make exercise social. Have your children invite their friends to join in on the activity. Being with someone else helps keep both accountable and engaged.
- Keep an eye out for upcoming events that promote physical activity that are held by your child’s school or community spaces.
By encouraging your children to exercise every day, you can help them maintain a healthy lifestyle that will help prevent illnesses and diseases later in their life.
Some additional benefits exercising can have on children include:
- Building stronger bones and muscles
- Reducing symptoms for depression and anxiety
- Helps children excel/do better in school
- Decreases likelihood for obesity later in life
- Decreases chance of developing heart diseases and reducing blood sugar levels
- Allows them to have a healthier immune system
If your child is an athlete and you need some help with