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Childs Play – How Much Exercise is Enough for Kids?

kids playing exercise health

kids playing exercise health 

 

25% of Australian children aged between 2-17 years old are now overweight or obese, and according to the World Health Organisation, 80% of obese adolescents will become obese adults.

 

The stats are scary, but hopefully scary enough to lead to education on preventive health and activity at a young age.

 

Thanks to technology in the form of DVDs, internet and video games, things like backyard cricket, garden cubby houses and hop- scotch are fast fading to become games of the past. The truth is, kids today are our most inactive generation, and this inactivity coupled with poor diets is setting them up for a life of ill health.

 

What else is holding kids back from the games we used to enjoy? Surely it can’t just be Game Boys/Nintendo/Xbox/whatever the latest gadget is? Is it parents? Expense? Schools? Fear?

 

Yes it turns out fear is surprisingly high on the list. Fear that our communities are no longer a ‘safe place’ for our children to roam the parks to play. A fear of litigation from primary schools sees many after-hours programmes canned as high insurance premiums are on the rise. Fear of injuries is resulting the ‘bubble wrapping of our children.

 

Another factor is cost – after hour school classes can be bloody expensive, and while there are amazing PT’s that run specialized kids groups to encourage movement, coordination and socialization (for the kids not mums..), these do come at a cost.

 

Of all of these fears, cost is one issue that can be minimized. With a little bit of imagination there is no reason that you can’t create your own active play group to keep costs low. Gather a group of friends after school one afternoon a week and take a (healthy) picnic to the park. Adult and kids can all get the benefits of some fresh air and exercise by putting together a few games that are not only fun and beneficial for health and wellbeing, but awesome for children’s teamwork and socialization skills

 

Try this easy game which not only gets kids moving but also stimulates motor neuron learning:

  • In different corners of a large boundary (such as a park grassed area) place individual colours, ie red in one corner, yellow in another, etc.
  • Get all players in the middle and then call it out a colour so everyone has to go to it (if it is a large group get 3 in the middle at a time)
  • To keep them interested add things like ‘bunny hop to red’ ‘crab crawl to blue’.
  • Depending on the age group, this can also be played using numbers instead of colours, or using left/rights.

 

 

So how much exercise is enough?

According to The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) the following guidelines are recommended:

 

Guidelines for Infants:

Guideline 1.

Infants should interact with caregivers in daily physical activities that are dedicated to exploring movement and the environment.

Guideline 2.

Caregivers should place infants in settings that encourage and stimulate movement experiences and active play for short periods of time several times a day.

Guideline 3.

Infants’ physical activity should promote skill development in movement.

Guideline 4.

Infants should be placed in an environment that meets or exceeds recommended safety standards for performing large-muscle activities.

Guideline 5.

Those in charge of infants’ well-being are responsible for understanding the importance of physical activity and should promote movement skills by providing opportunities for structured and unstructured physical activity.

 

 

Guidelines for Toddlers:

Guideline 1.

Toddlers should engage in a total of at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity each day.

Guideline 2.

Toddlers should engage in at least 60 minutes — and up to several hours — per day of unstructured physical activity and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.

Guideline 3.

Toddlers should be given ample opportunities to develop movement skills that will serve as the building blocks for future motor skillfulness and physical activity.

Guideline 4.

Toddlers should have access to indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards for performing large-muscle activities.

Guideline 5.

Those in charge of toddlers’ well-being are responsible for understanding the importance of physical activity and promoting movement skills by providing opportunities for structured and unstructured physical activity and movement experiences.

 

 

Guidelines for Preschoolers:

Guideline 1.

Preschoolers should accumulate at least 60 minutes of structured physical activity each day.

Guideline 2.

Preschoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes — and up to several hours — of unstructured physical activity each day, and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.

Guideline 3.

Preschoolers should be encouraged to develop competence in fundamental motor skills that will serve as the building blocks for future motor skillfulness and physical activity.

Guideline 4.

Preschoolers should have access to indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards for performing large-muscle activities.

Guideline 5.

Caregivers and parents in charge of preschoolers’ health and well-being are responsible for understanding the importance of physical activity and for promoting movement skills by providing opportunities for structured and unstructured physical activity.

 

Guidelines for 5 – 12 year olds:

Guideline 1.

Children should accumulate at least 60 minutes, and up to several hours, of age-appropriate physical activity on all, or most days of the week. This daily accumulation should include moderate and vigorous physical activity with the majority of the time being spent in activity that is intermittent in nature.           

 

Guideline 2.

Children should participate in several bouts of physical activity lasting 15 minutes or more each day.      

Guideline 3.

Children should participate each day in a variety of age-appropriate physical activities designed to achieve optimal health, wellness, fitness, and performance benefits.     

Guideline 4.

Extended periods (periods of two hours or more) of inactivity are discouraged for children, especially during the daytime hours.  

 

Easy right? Get at least 1 hour of huff and puff exercise a day and remember – aim to balance play (exercise) with rest (tv time) but most importantly make the healthy message fun!

 

If you think you need a helping hand http://www.fitkidsaustralia.com/ has some great after school /holiday program’s and well worth checking out.

 

 

 

Lee Sutherland is the manager of Fitness In The City (Personal Training/blog on all things health, nutrition and fitness) she is also a trainer at Sydney’s exclusive gym Holistic Fitness.

 

Follow her on Twitter here and Facebook here and blog here for more great health tips, recipes and motivation!

 

Jolene

Jolene

Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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