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January 26, 2017 • Family MedicineWomen and Children's Center
The health of their growing children is a priority in any parent’s life, and few things are as important to kids’ health as their level of exercise and fitness. Staying physically fit early in life can prevent potential conditions from developing, and it helps children stay positive and energetic.
Exercise for children isn’t the same as it is for adults, though. Many of us in our adult years have to plan out exercise, and either go to a gym or set aside time. For children, much of their exercise is an organic part of daily life. They play at recess, they play outside after school and they take part in all sorts of physical activities, from sports to dance and more.
Here’s a look at some fitness basics for kids – the types, benefits, and proper amounts they need, plus how to gently push them in the right direction with their habits.
There are three main elements that go into exercise and fitness for your kids:
Benefits of Exercise
Regularly performing these three kinds of exercise – especially endurance – leads to several benefits for kids. Many of these are the first layer of prevention their bodies get from long-term conditions:
A parent’s responsibility includes making sure your kids get enough exercise. Here are the basic recommendations from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) for levels of exercise based on age:
Obesity in children has become a major issue in the United States, and much of this is because kids aren’t as active. The rise of technology has put more non-movement entertainment options in front of them, and it’s tough to keep kids motivated.
As a parent, you can help with this motivation. Here are a few tips for keeping your children away from screens and enjoying an active lifestyle.
“Kids and Exercise.” KidsHealth.org. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/exercise.html#
“Exercise for Children.” MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/exerciseforchildren.html
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.