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Get Active!

4/15/2019 | Alyssa Bosse, RDN, LD

Years ago, children didn't have a problem getting the recommended activity time like we see nowadays. TV, video games, computers, the internet, cell phones, and other electronic devices are competing for children's attention. As a result, being active gets pushed aside and children are forming habits that lead to poor health and obesity. Healthy and unhealthy lifestyles that are learned in childhood are more likely to be continued into adulthood.

Did you know? 

  • Decreasing screen time to less than 2 hours a day is recommended by the AAP.
  • Studies have shown that simply reducing screen time had the biggest impact on a child's willingness to be active.
  • Adolescents need at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days for maintenance of good health and fitness and for healthy weight during growth.
  • The key to being active is that your child has to enjoy it. Forcing activity on your child may have good intentions, but it will not turn into a lifestyle habit.

Living an active lifestyle will make an incredible difference in the health of your child.

Regular exercise improves:

  • The ability to keep weight under control
  • Blood cholesterol levels
  • Energy levels and stamina
  • The ability to release tension
  • The ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
  • Self-image and confidence
  • The ability to manage stress
  • Mood and boosts positive emotions, such as enthusiasm and optimism
  • Your muscle strength and physical stamina

Regular exercise prevents and/or reduces:

  • High blood pressure
  • Bone loss and weakness
  • Mental health problems by fighting anxiety and depression
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels
  • Obesity
  • The likelihood of getting heart disease
  • The chances of a heart attack or stroke later in life
  • The risk of getting type 2 diabetes

Aerobic physical activity

Aerobic activity increases a child's capacity for exercise because they increase heart and breathing rates.

Aerobic physical activities include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Bike riding
  • Roller skating
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing on the playground
  • Dancing
  • Gymnastics
  • Running games, such as tag
  • Climbing stairs
  • Playing sports

Physical activity doesn't have to be traditional!

Your child can be physically active when participating in creative activities.

Fun and non-traditional fitness games and activities include:

  • Balloon volleyball
  • Freeze dance
  • Video games that support movement
  • Scavenger hunts inside the house
  • Workout videos from the library
  • Using TV commercial time to hop like a frog, do high knee jumps, do bear crawls, or do wall push ups.

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