When you think of your children, do you think about how active they are?
The average child is on a screen of some sort for 4-6 hours a day and teens heading up into 9 hours. That’s a lot of time to have them stuck in technology and can ultimately lead to a plethora of problems. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology states that the following issues are associated with higher screen times:
- Sleep problems
- Lower grades in school
- Reading fewer books
- Less time with family and friends
- Not enough outdoor or physical activity
- Weight problems
- Mood problems
- Poor self-image and body image issues
- Fear of missing out
- Less time learning other ways to relax and have fun
As screen time becomes more and more common, children are spending less time outside and most importantly actively moving their bodies. By children being active from a young age, it really helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle over their lifetime. physical activity is important for everyone but especially children. Not only do they need to counteract the negative impacts on their health from the ever increasing screen time but physical movement can help reduce the risk of some diseases, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, while keeping their bodies at a healthy weight.
The American Council on Exercise lists the following top 10 reasons kids should get plenty of exercise:
- Kids who exercise are more likely to keep exercising as an adult.
- Exercise helps kids achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Regular physical activity helps build and maintain strong, healthy muscles, bones and joints.
- Exercise aids in the development of important interpersonal skills—this is especially true for participation in team sports.
- Exercise improves the quantity and quality of sleep.
- Research shows exercise promotes improved school attendance and enhances academic performance.
- Kids who exercise have greater self-esteem and better self-images.
- Participating in regular physical activity prevents or delays the development of many chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension) and promotes health.
- Children who are active report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and a better overall mood.
- Exercise helps improve motor coordination and enhances the development of various motor performance skills.
How much daily exercise should your children get? At least 60 minutes. It doesn’t have to be playing a sport in order for it to be considered exercise. Check out a few ways you can get active with your children on a daily basis:
- walking your dog
- morning stretches or yoga
- having a dance party
- walking or riding bikes
- go bowling or for a game of mini golf
- plant a garden or go work in it
- go roller skating
- throw frisbees
- jump roping
- play a game of tag in the backyard
It’s not only important to get active every day but equally important to get outside. A lot of the activities I suggested are ones that we partake in ourselves and are outside. Would you be open to trying these with your own kids?