Keeping Your Children Active and Healthy
Being physically active is an important part of a healthy life. It is why we are proud of the partnership with Owasso Public Schools with the PLAY program to educate our community about healthy choices. But when it comes to physical activity, how much should your child get? What kinds of activity are important? Do children need structured exercise programs or just time to head out to the backyard unrestricted? Here are some tips for families to help incorporate exercise into their child’s daily routine.
Why does exercise matter for kids?
We all know being active can help kids have healthier body weights and less body fat. Physical fitness leads to stronger bones and muscles and it will help them have better heart and lung fitness. Exercise also reduces feelings of depression in kids. It can help prevent illness in later life, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Unfortunately, many kids don’t get enough physical activity each day. Statistics show that screen time in front of the television and computer claims some of the time that could be spent on exercise. Children who are not physically fit have a greater chance of being unfit adults, increasing their risk for chronic disease and other health problems later in life.
Some unhealthy facts:
•50 percent of teens don’t exercise regularly.
•Adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day watching television, being on the computer, playing video games, or occupied on cell phones.
•More than 15 percent of school children are obese or overweight.
•Overweight teens have a 70 percent chance of being overweight or obese adults.
•85 percent of kids with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
Recommended goals for kids
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that kids ages 6 to 17 get 60 minutes or more of physical activity on most days of the week. Most of those 60 or more minutes should be spent on aerobic activity - movement that increases heart rate and causes them to breathe faster.
At least three days a week, kids should include activity that strengthens both their muscles and bones. With warmer weather, there are more opportunities to head outside and take advantage of these ideas.
Active lifestyles by age
Children do not necessarily need to have a structured exercise program. Depending on their age, exercise can mean playground time, walking the dog or playing a favorite sport. Younger children don’t need to go to exercise classes or lift weights. They can get exercise climbing a jungle gym or playing games in the park. Older kids can get more out of structured activities, such as organized sports or exercise classes, including yoga and even pilates!
As children get older, they often reduce their physical activity as a result of the demands of schoolwork and busy schedules. However, parents can help remind them of the positive experiences with activities that suit them to keep them coming back for more. The main takeaway for parents - it’s important to encourage your child to do activities that are right for their age and fun for them.
This summer the Bailey Medical Center Strong Kids Triathlon returns August 22, 2015. This event is great for children five to 15 years old with a 100 yard swim, two-mile bike ride and one-mile run challenge. For more information, please visit our Facebook Event page.