A Child’s Exercise Plan
According to the latest guidelines published by the US Department of Health and Human Services, children ages 6 to 17 should do 60 minutes of moderate activity per day. All 60 minutes does not have to be non-stop, but can be intermittent throughout the day.
Most of the movement should be aerobic activity – running, skipping, jumping rope, dancing etc. but it should include muscle and bone strengthening activities too. Activities such as climbing, weights, tennis and basketball are included.
It is thought that most children are falling short of this goal, only 35% of children are getting 60 minutes of activity a day. TV and playing video games form a large part of their day when home from school.
Here are some easy ways to encourage activity:
- Arrange to spend time with family and friends taking long walks in the local parks or running errands. Even in hot climates when walking outside is unbearable – head to the local shopping mall.
- Join a local YMCA – often these offer kids programs and play activities.
- Help your child develop a sport that they enjoy.
- Provide active toys for your child – balls, ropes, bikes etc.
- Make time to exercise – and make sure Mom and Dad practice what they preach!
One of the most important things parents can do is encourage healthy habits in their children early on in life. It is not too late to start.