How Much Exercise Do Kids Need?

by | Health, Parent Resources

Modern technologies present a challenge in getting outside for some good exercise. The importance of physical activity has not diminished, nor will it ever! Encouraging healthy exercise habits in our kids is an essential aspect of teaching them how to be adults, and how to look after their bodies.

How Much Exercise Do Kids Need Every Day?

Children ages 6 and up should be getting at least an hour of physical activity a day. This hour can be accomplished in gym class, but note that this does not mean an hour straight. Exercise can be broken up into segments. For example walking to school. If walking to school takes 15 minutes, then they have already done 30 minutes of exercise that day.

The 3 Types of Exercise

We all know different types of exercise, most think of cardio such as running, and strength training such as lifting weights. Another aspect of physical activity is weight-bearing which forces you to work against gravity therefore strengthening the bones.

It’s important to switch it up and keep exercises interesting – let’s face it, kids get bored! Something else to keep in mind is that different exercises promotes different ways the body can grow and progress.

Taking Breaks Throughout The Day

As mentioned before, the hour of exercise doesn’t have to be continuous. In fact, studies have shown that focusing on tasks is improved with a short exercise break. This means getting up for a stretch or even taking a short 5 minute walk outside or in the school hallways.

How Much Exercise Is Too Much?

Too much exercise results in burnouts. Kids will know their limits. If your child has lost interest in a particular activity, this could be from over-doing it. Just like adults, kids need rest and cheat days! Exercising for many hours every day is not usually conducive to strong and healthy habits.

When kids and teenagers are heavily involved in sports for example, it’s important for them to have rest days where they have the opportunity to do more leisurely activities.

At the end of the day, the human body is designed to tell us when we are pushing it too far. When injuries occur and exhaustion sets in take a break! The goal is to be healthy and encourage healthy habits when kids are young so they can go on auto-pilot keeping it up. For more information about health, download your FREE copy of volume 12 of Guide to Schools here.