Childhood obesity has hit an all-time high. The CDC reports that almost one out of every five school-aged children suffers from obesity. Obesity carries with it a plethora of negative consequences for kids. These include problems with self-esteem, health issues, reluctance to socialize, and more. Of course, no parent wants to see a child suffer from being out of shape, let alone obese. Even so-called normal-weight children often don’t get enough exercise. With the abundance of passive playthings like computers, tablets and cell phones, children are even less likely to get the amount of exercise that they need to thrive and grow.
What Is the Ideal Amount of Time a Child Should Be Active Each Day?
For optimum health, it’s crucial that your child get enough exercise on a daily and weekly basis. While no one expects you to follow your child around with a timer, it’s worth it to roughly keep track of how much activity your child engages in. To help figure out how much a child should be active each day, the CDC has published some helpful guidelines for kids and parents to keep in mind.
For at least one hour (60 minutes) each day, your child should be engaged in some kind of physical activity. It’s best to break down the activity into different areas so various muscle groups are used. The CDC recommends that your child gets aerobic activity at least three times a week. Another three days a week, your child should be doing exercise that helps build muscles. Finally, for three days a week, your child should participate in some kind of activity that helps build strong bones.
What Activities are Best for Your Child?
Now that you know the ideal amount of daily activity time for children, what are some activities that you can participate in with your children to make sure they’re getting enough?
Going to the Park
A simple trip to the park can actually fulfill all three of the activity requirements mentioned above. Parks typically have some playground equipment and some walking paths. Your local park may also have one or two rolling hills. You and your child could bring a ball to the park to kick around; that fulfills the bone-strengthening activity requirement. Take a brisk walk up one of the hills with your child to take care of the aerobic recommendation. Encourage your child to play on the monkey bars in order to build muscle. Isn’t it great that a simple day at the park can accomplish so much?
Entertainment at Home
At home and in the backyard, there are plenty of activities that will fulfill the CDC guidelines. Your child can climb a tree to build muscle, play Frisbee football for aerobic exercise and use a jump rope to build strong bones.
Work on Projects Together
Fun projects can help your child get physical exercise and strengthen your parent-child bond. Try building a tree house, repainting their bedroom or building a go-kart together. Don’t let your child become part of the obesity epidemic. Lead by example and encourage your child to put down the electronics and enjoy being physically active and fit.
For more articles and information on Kids Health, visit our website, or check out this blog about how fitness can (and should!) be fun for kids.