According to the Department of Health and Human Services, children and adolescents aged 6 and older require physical activity at least an hour each day. The hour should be moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. Additionally, children should also be participating in activities that target to strengthen their bones and muscles at least three days a week.
To inspire children to get the required amount of physical activity, encourage them to engage in activities that are appropriate for their age and are enjoyable. To break it down, here are the three types of activity that children and adolescents should be doing:
1. Aerobic activity
Your child’s daily requirement of physical activity should be made up primarily of aerobic activity. Aerobic exercise is also referred to as cardio and aims to strengthen the hearts and lungs.
Moderate aerobic activity will raise the heart rate and make your child sweat, but they should still be able to talk without pausing to catch their breath or can even sing the words of a song.
Moderate aerobic activity includes:
● Playing in the playground
● Walking to school
● Taking the dog for a walk
● Riding a bike
Vigorous activity will lead your children to breathe heavily and fast while their heart rate increases significantly. This type of activity is good for children to strengthen their heart, lungs, further and build endurance. Examples of vigorous activity include:
● Martial arts playing chase
2. Muscle-strengthening activities
To help build strong bones, regulate their blood sugar and blood pressure, and maintain a healthy weight, developing muscle strength is essential. Muscle-strengthening activities require children to lift their own body weight or work against resistance. Here are some great muscle-strengthening activities that are suitable for children:
● Rope climbing
● Tree climbing
● Weight training/Resistance training
● Swinging on playground bars
● Rock climbing
3. Bone-strengthening activities
To promote bone growth and strength, children should be engaging in bone-strengthening activities at least three times a week. Similar to muscle-strengthening, bone-strengthening activities require children to lift their body weight or work against resistance. However, these activities aim to produce an impact on the bones thus encouraging them to grow stronger. Examples are:
● Jumping rope
● Martial arts
The key to ensuring your child gets enough physical activity every day is by making it fun. Encourage them to try different activities so that they don’t lose interest by the same old routine. The wonderful this is that children naturally want to stay active. The secret is to start them young. However, if they have already reached the adolescent age, there are plenty of ways to ease them into becoming physical activity regularly; they just need to find what it is that interests them.