Childhood obesity has more than doubled over the past three decades. Introducing children to exercise and showing them how fun being active is, you can make a big difference.
Healthy Amount of Exercise
It is recommended that children get 60 minutes of exercise a day. This can be broken down into smaller time frames throughout the day to make it easier, such as walking to school.
Exercise by Age
Not all exercise is appropriate for all ages and some is more beneficial to certain age groups than others. The key is to pick age-appropriate activities that interest your kids so that they will look forward to the activity and form a positive opinion of healthy fitness pursuits.
Younger Children (2-5 years)
Younger children require more physical activity than other age groups, with a recommended 2 hours a day. This should be made up of unstructured, creative play and planned activity too.
Children at school should reach the recommended 60 minutes a day, broken down into 10 or 15 minute sessions. This can be made up of School PE lessons, but also activities outside of School time. As children grow older, they can be more independent of fitness activities such as joining clubs.
Benefits of Exercise for Children
Regular exercise builds healthy bones and muscles. Exercise also develops motor skills and coordination, and can increase positive academic performance. By keeping children fit and encouraging them to exercise from a young age, you are providing them with healthy habits that will continue as they grow older. Exercise has many benefits including helping children to sleep better at night, reduce stress levels and making improving concentration.
Set an Example
Becoming active yourself is one of the best ways to encourage children to be active. By showing children that exercise is fun, they will be motivated to join in and will want to exercise in their spare time. You can find family activities that you can do together such as walking the dog or playing tennis or in the park.