As part of a “Prescription for a Healthier, Active Life” for children and families, the American Academy of Pediatrics to encourages these four basic components of the 5210 program:
- Eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
- Limit screen time to 2 hours or less per day.
- Get 1 hour or more of physical activity every day.
- Drink fewer or 0 sugar-sweetened drinks.
Just like adults, children need their exercise. It is recommended that children exercise at least one hour a day. Making sure your child gets one hour of exercise a day helps them in a variety of ways, such as:
- Stress reduction
- Confidence booster
- Feel more ready to learn in school
- Keep a healthy weight
- Keeps bones healthy and strong
- Helps with sleeping at night
There are three elements of fitness that children enjoy. If you have ever watched a child on a playground, you know exactly what they are:
- Run away from the kid who’s “it” (endurance)
- Cross the monkey bars (strength)
- Bend down to tie their shoes (flexibility)
Endurance is developed when children regularly engage in aerobic activity. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster, leading to harder breathing. If you engage in aerobic activity on a daily basis, it strengthens the heart and improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells. A happy heart is one that exercises. Here are some activities that will allow your child an hour of aerobic exercise a day:
- Inline skating
A child doesn’t only gain their strength from lifting weights. There are many ways your child can gain their strength without weightlifting. However, if they do want to lift weights, always make sure it is a supervised activity. But most kids don’t need a formal weight-training program to be strong. Push-ups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and other exercises help tone and strengthen the body’s muscles. Children also incorporate strength activities in their play when they climb on trees and monkey bars, do a handstand, or wrestle with friends.
Stretching exercises help improve the body’s flexibility, allowing all of the muscles and joints in your body to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Kids look for opportunities every day to stretch when they try to get a toy just out of reach, practice a split, or do a cartwheel. As a parent, you should engage in stretching exercises with your children daily. Here is a list of some great stretching activities you and your children can do together:
- Butterfly stretch
- Knee lunge
- Crossover toe touch
- Side lunge
- Calf stretch
- Quadricep stretch
- Straddle stretch
- Childs pose
- Overhead arm stretch
- Shoulder stretch
- Tricep stretch
- Cat-cow stretch
When it comes time for your child’s exercise, always remember to keep it fun. There is no need to overdo it. Stay healthy and exercise!