We often discuss exercise concerning adults, but what about our kids? As obesity rates have risen in recent decades, adults are not the only ones affected. The Center for Disease Control estimates that the amount of children that are overweight or obese is about 25% of the kids age 2 to 18. Exercise is a key part of controling weight in children.
Exercise is more than just for improving athletic ability or obtaining a desired physique. In addition to controling weight, exercise has many benefits including the following:
Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
Reduces risk of some types of cancer
Improves muscle strength and bone health
Improves mental health and mood
Improves efficiency of daily activity
Kids today are not as active as in past generations. Kids spend more time on video games, watching TV, and playing on computers than playing outside. For this reason we need to be sure that kids get some physical activity each day, and make it a point to be sure that it happens. Here are some ideas that can get kids moving:
Ideas for small children
Playing “tag” Running and having races
Playground equipment such as monkey bars and climbing equipment
Supervised and assisted swimming
Informal ball sports (soccer, football, baseball, basketball, or even just a “bouncy ball”)
Ideas for older children
Team Sports – Including soccer, football, baseball/softball, basketball, hockey, volleyball, and lacrosse.
Individual Sports – Swimming, tennis, golf, wrestling, martial arts, cross country, skiing, snowboarding, BMX, mountain biking, cycling, gymnastics, dance, ballet, skateboarding, motocross, skating, badminton, table tennis, rugby, boxing, kayaking, surfing, rugby, track & field, and rock climbing, other competitive running (5k, 10k, marathon), biathlon, and triathlon.
Other Activities – Informal bike riding, hiking, jump roping, weightlifting, cardiovascular gym equipment (treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical), yoga, Pilates, organized cardiovascular classes, work with a personal trainer, watersports, bodyweight resistance (pushups, lunges, sit ups, pull ups), and really anything that that elevates the heart rate, exerts energy, and causes sweat.
So, get those kids moving! About 60 minutes of exercise each day is recommended. With childhood obesity rates continually on the rise, we need to be sure that exercise is a part of our children’s lives.