Short answer? YESSSS.
I’m fairly certain most are familiar with the following recommendation; children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
Did you know that less than 24% of kids ages 6-17 meet this requirement? While it was alarming to read, it’s not surprising what with our technology driven society. And if you’re in the South like me, it’s downright brutal this time of year so it definitely hinders our options for activity. Seriously, some days it’s a health hazard to be outdoors!
Let’s discuss the benefits of exercise (or activity) and the details. We know it has countless benefits for everyone, regardless of age, so let’s refresh on a few of those psychological and physiological benefits first:
Promotes healthy bone growth & development
Reduces depression & anxiety
Limits the risk of obesity & chronic disease
Improves sleep (which is where SO much of their development takes place)
Those benefits also extend into the classroom (and office for adults).
What ages should do what activity and for how long? I’m so glad you asked!
Preschoolers benefit greatly from playtime in the backyard, at the park or any outdoor area. They don’t need a structured activity to expend energy-just turn em loose. ;p
6-17 year olds should be doing some type of activity they ENJOY. Things like running, jumping, dancing, gymnastics, outdoor play, biking, roller blading (aside from my kiddo, I rarely see kids skating anymore!), hiking, etc
Muscle strengthening (body weight exercises are perfect!) and aerobic activities can be done up to 3x a week. For kids in this category, it’s imperative to go slow and controlled with movements. We want our children to develop a solid foundation so that they CAN lift weights safely and effectively as they age. This is not an area we should rush as it can compromise their development.
It’s equally important for those that are in structured sports from a young age to get TIME OFF from said sport to explore other areas, to move their body differently and find enjoyment in other activities. Just like when you follow a structured workout routine, that routine changes with time. You can not stay in the routine for months on end and expect results/progress/improvement. The same applies to our children. Allow them time to try new things and to have time to be a kid.
If you’d like more information or simply want to stay in the know of all things health, fitness and wellness, make sure you’re following my Facebook page at Hope & Faith Fitness by Breanne Turner