posted: Jun. 20, 2019.
Summer is here and it’s time to break out the bikes, roller blades, hiking boots, whatever you need to make the most of these sunny days. Outdoor activities are awesome because not only are they super fun, but they also double as exercise. That’s a win-win! Bonus points if you get family time out of the deal, too. Group activities increase motivation so getting the whole family involved is the best way to go. Team sports are another great way to get kids moving. Exercise does not have to be a regimented activity; playing at the park or a fast-moving game of tag totally counts as exercise. It’s so important to find something that you enjoy that keeps you physically active. When you are doing something that you enjoy, it doesn’t even feel like a work out. It’s just fun! Research shows that you are much more likely to keep up with a regular exercise routine if you are doing an activity that you like to do rather than an activity that you dread. (5)
The CDC recommends that every child get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. The younger your child is, the more physical activity they need. Pre-school aged children should be active as much as possible throughout the day. Active play has a huge role in how children learn and grow. Movement is SO important for their mental and physical development.
The CDC also recommends the rule of 3’s: at least 3 days a week of aerobic exercises, at least 3 days a week of muscle strengthening exercises, and at least 3 days a week of bone strengthening exercises. Some of these exercises overlap. Aerobic activity is anything that gets the heart pumping. Examples include running, swimming, biking, and dancing. Muscle strengthening activities include anything that makes the muscles work harder than normal, such as push-ups or swinging on monkey bars. Bone strengthening exercises are anything that is weight-bearing, such as running or jumping rope. Bones need pressure to grow stronger. While muscle strengthening and bone strengthening exercises are incredibly important to incorporate into a weekly routine, the majority of exercise should focus on aerobics. Most days should contain aerobic activity of some kind. If it is a rainy day, there are still plenty of exercises that can be done indoors. You can do jumping jacks, yoga, or YouTube exercise videos. You could even crank up the music and have a family dance party. The options really are unlimited!
Exercise has so many benefits. Just a few of these include preventing disease processes like: type 2 Diabetes, heart Disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, and obesity!
Exercise can also help with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise can even help with academic performance. Research shows that regular aerobic exercise helps to strengthen the parts of the brain responsible for attention and memory. (4)
Of course, we always need to keep safety at the forefront of our minds. Make sure your child always wears a helmet when riding a bike, roller blading, riding a scooter, etc. Keep a very close eye on your children while at a playground or park and make sure they are using equipment properly. Never leave a child unattended in or around a pool. Apply sunscreen when playing outside and drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
The more we encourage exercise in childhood and adolescence, the more likely children are to continue a regular exercise routine into adulthood. Establishing a healthy lifestyle today is the key to a healthier future. Come talk to us about laying the foundation for a healthier life for your family!
- Guiney, H., & Machado, L. (2012). Benefits of regular aerobic exercise for executive functioning in healthy populations. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20(1), 73-86. doi:10.3758/s13423-012-0345-
- Kim, S. J., & Cho, B. H. (2013). The effects of empowered motivation on exercise adherence and physical fitness in college women. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 9(2), 278–285. doi:10.12965/jer.130011