A child's physical, mental, and emotional well-being all depend upon getting enough daily exercise. Unfortunately, children are becoming less active as they spend more time watching television, playing video games, and using the Internet. However, by making smart choices you can ensure your family develops healthy habits for an active lifestyle.
Physical Activity Guidelines
- It is recommended that children two years of age and older participate in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every day, and 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity three to four times each week
- Children 2-3 years of age are very interested in exploring their world through active play. Some suggested activities include: unstructured play such as running, climbing, swinging, playing in a sandbox.
- Children 4-5 years of age are becoming more coordinated and can participate in some organized games. Some suggested activities include: playing with balls, hoops, riding bicycles with training wheels, and dancing and gymnastics.
- Children 6-12 years of age can quickly learn new skills for individual and team sports. Some suggested activities include: organized, competitive sports such as soccer, or non-competitive activities such as dancing or yoga.
- Research has shown that television, video games, the Internet, and talking on the phone all reduce the time children spend in active pursuits.
- Too much television can be harmful. Watching television is a passive activity, which reduces time children spend reading or engaged in creative play.
- Limit your child's TV time. Carefully choose what programs your child watches, make watching TV part of family time, keep TV out of children's bedrooms.
- Limit television, video game, and computer time to one hour a day for children under five years of age.
- Stretch before and after exercising to help prevent muscle strain.
- Always wear the proper equipment for an activity.
- Follow the talk/sing rule: If children are breathing too heavily to be able to sing but are still able to talk, they are probably exercising at the right level of intensity
- Teach your child to stop exercising if he or she feels pain, is faint or dizzy, or nauseous.
- Use close, constant supervision during any water activity. Young children can drown in a very small amount of water.
- Being overweight is a problem for many children today and can lead to health problems in later life.
- Obesity is usually defined as weighing over 20% or more than other children of the same age.
- Crash diets are not recommended, but your pediatrician can help you develop a healthy weight loss plan.
The benefits of being active can last a lifetime.
Support your school and local community in providing more physical education, parks, and recreation centers for children.
Always use sunscreen for your child's outdoor activities.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Hours of inactivity can lead to obesity in children.
Staying fit doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Plan physical activities during family time, such as playing catch, bike riding, dancing to music, playing tag, going on hike
Increase self-confidence and self-esteem
Good nutrition and daily exercise is a winning combination