It’s hard to believe it’s “that time again.” The lazy days of summer are winding down and kids head back into the classrooms. Sitting time increases and it may get more challenging for kids to get the recommended amount of daily physical activity.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends children get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. At least three of those days should contain vigorous-intensity exercise (e.g. running). Within those 60 daily minutes, the CDC also recommends children perform muscle strengthening exercises like pushups, sit-ups, gymnastics three times per week, and bone-strengthening exercises like jumping rope or running three times per week.
Take note of your children’s activity levels by keeping a physical activity diary for one week. Note the following:
- Does your child have physical education in school this quarter? How many days per week? How long does the class last?
- Ask your children what they do at recess. Do they gravitate towards vigorous games like soccer, basketball, tag or they sit with friends and talk?
- How do they unwind after school? Do they sit down and play video games and watch TV or play with friends outdoors riding bikes and playing sports?
- How many days per week are they in an organized physical activity like sports, dance or gymnastics?
Add up the time and see if your children are getting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day. If they don’t naturally gravitate towards physical activity, it will require a gentle, caring parental push to find activities or sports they enjoy. Some kids thrive in more individual sports like martial arts or tennis, while others prefer team sports like basketball or lacrosse. Be open to helping your child try lots of different activities to find something they truly enjoy. Make fitness fun so they’ll want to be active, laying a strong foundation for a healthy active lifestyle through adulthood!