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Is Your Child Getting Enough Exercise?

While making sure kids get enough exercise is not always an issue for parents, many parents, educators, and health professionals consider a lack of exercise cause for concern. Today's kids have many options that seem to keep them more sedentary than ever before. From video games to computers and beyond, kids are often sitting in front of electronic devices, rather than keeping physically active. And that can result in some serious health problems!

Kids Fitness: Activity is Key

At this age, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that children get at least one hour of physical activity each day. Those 60 minutes per day should be in the form of aerobic activity, which includes things like walking, running, bike riding, or playing physically active sports. Children should also aim to make their activity vigorous on at least three of those days per week. Within those 60 minutes per day of activity, the CDC recommends that children include some activities that will further strengthen their body, such as muscle and bone strengthening. Muscle strengthening activities include things like doing push-ups or gymnastics and are recommended at least three times per week. Bone strengthening activities include things like running, dancing, and hiking and are also recommended at least three times per week as part of a child's hour of daily activity.

Motivating Kids to Fitness

Many parents know how important daily physical activity is, but they may not know how to go about getting their child to actually do it. There are a few things you can do to motivate your child to fitness, such as:

  • Use a reward chart or exercise chart to inspire fitness.
  • Implement a reward system to motivate kids. Assign points for accomplishing certain activity tasks and provide small rewards for accomplishing goals.
  • Make physical activity a daily family activity. Each day after dinner, for example, the family can go to the park, take a bike ride, or throw the football around the yard.
  • Plan activities that keep the family active, such as taking a weekly nature hike.
  • Help your child find some type of activity that she enjoys. The more she likes it, the more likely she will be to stick with it.
  • Avoid pushing and berating her to exercise. Instead, just focus on the fact that it will help her be healthy and it can be fun.

One of the most important things that a parent can do is to be physically active as well. When kids see their parents place an importance on exercise, they will be more likely to follow suit. Also, it is important to be consistent with providing encouragement on the issue. With time, you will be successful in getting your child active, making it a habit, and helping her to become healthier!