For your child to build strong muscles and bones and maintain a basic level of health, they should be getting adequate exercise. According to the CDC guidelines and the Department of Health and Human Services, kids ages 6 and up should be getting at least an hour of physical activity each day.
At first, it may sound like a lot. But when you think about how much energy kids have and how much they move around, your kid may already be getting this amount of physical activity in a day. However, if you feel that your child is not getting enough exercise, encourage them to participate in activities that are age-appropriate and fun. Offer variety!
Think about what activities your child enjoys. If you live in an area close to nature, you can take them on hikes. As they explore their surroundings, collect leaves and rocks, they won’t even realize that they’re getting exercise.
Does your child love music? Turn some energetic and fun music for the both of you to dance to in the living room.
Do they love sports? By the age of 6, most kids already show if they are sports-ready. Organized sports such as soccer or baseball is a great way for them to stay fit. Introduce them to other activities such as swimming or ballet by letting them attend a few classes to see if they are naturally drawn to one.
Whether it’s sports or regular trips to the park, here is a guideline for the three types of physical activity your child should engage in:
Hiking, skateboarding, and even walking to school are all good forms of aerobic activity. Aerobic activity gets your kids hearts and lungs pumping, making them breathe heavier than normal. Light aerobic activity every day for at least 60 minutes is great, but they should also be including vigorous-intensity aerobic activity at least 3 days a week; this can include brisk walking and running.
Younger kids are already engaging in muscle strengthening activities more than you realize. They’re climbing trees and playing on bars. Other activities that use their body weight as resistance such as gymnastics or tug-of-war are excellent for the muscles.
To ensure that your child is building strong bones, encourage them to run, jump, and skip. Jumping rope and hopscotch are fun activities for kids. Sign your kid up for gymnastics, basketball, tennis, or volleyball if it interests them.
While an hour each day seems like a lot, it’s important that children get the right amount of physical activity every day. But remember, that for kids who are playing sports seriously, it’s also essential that they get at least one day of rest for the week. Start them young so that they develop the habit, leading them to a healthy lifestyle throughout their entire lives.