How Much Exercise Does my Child Need

Guidelines on how much we need to exercise and what we need to be eating are constantly changing. It is the same for children. As our lifestyles change, children get less of their exercise from general activity and play; playing outdoors is often exchanged for indoor activities such as television and computer games. While these activities have their place in any balanced lifestyle, it is important that sedentary activities do not become the main source of entertainment for kids.

An Hour A Day

As well as general running around, playtime at school and walking to and from where they need to be, children between the ages of 2 and 7 should aim to have at least an hour of exercise every day. This exercise should incorporate cardiovascular exercise and strengthening exercises, but don?t worry if you aren?t sure how to include these in your child’s exercise routine. This isn?t a case of ticking boxes and making sure all the muscle groups are worked ? it is about making exercise fun. The important thing is that your child wants to get active so that they naturally get cardio, strengthening and conditioning. Formal exercise isn?t ideal for children ? play is the way to go.

There are a number of ways you can make sure your child gets these different types of exercise, without the need for exercise regimes, plans or the activity feeling forced;

Climbing frames ?

running around and keeping the heart rate up gives your child the cardio they need, while all that pulling with the arms and pushing with the feet gives them the strengthening exercise they need. Essentially, a climbing frame enables your child to use their own weight to exercise against. They are working their muscles and having fun at the same time. Their sense of balance will improve, and so will their confidence as they reach the top and get that feeling of achievement that will encourage them to try harder and reach further next time. An hour in a play park will whizz by, especially if you set your child specific challenges that they can try to attain.

Sports Clubs ?

most children don?t think in terms of exercise, they think in terms of play, fun and games. A child who is completely immersed in a game of football doesn?t realise they are exercising, so swap a computer game for a team sport and watch your child learn, have fun and get that important hour of intense exercise all at once. Support your child and encourage them in the sport they choose, allow them to try new sports and get involved yourself when you get the chance.

Gymnastics ?

gymnastics is an excellent way to get your child exercising while teaching discipline and control. This can be very rewarding for children who are very active but who find it difficult to sit still and behave! Gymnastics in childhood is a great way to develop flexibility and strength and this will stand your child in good stead into their adulthood as well. Again, gymnastics classes for kids are designed to be fun, so your child will be playing and having fun with other children, rather than ?exercising?.