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How much exercise does my child need

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Once upon a time this would have been deemed a peculiar and altogether redundant question, but with children leading more sedentary lifestyles than previous generations, it appears a more proactive approach is needed to ensure children are healthy and fit.So how much exercise does my child need? The amount of exercise each child requires is dependent on their age and natural physical ability. All children should spend as little time as possible in car seats, pushchairs and travelling in cars, buses and trains. At the very least, walking wherever possible should be encouraged.

Toddlers and Under Fives

Able-bodied children under five often need no encouragement to keep on the move, but are recommended to be active for a minimum of three hours per day. This may appear a surprising amount of time for a young child to be active, but activity also refers to movements such as walking, playing and rolling. More strenuous activities such as climbing, bicycle riding and running should also play part of their daily routine.

From Five to Eighteen

The amount of time spent exercising decreases between these ages, but activities should become more challenging. Children between these ages should be aiming for an hour of aerobic exercise per day, which should include activities that require moderate exertion and strenuous exertion. The goal is for children to participate in exercises that raises their heart rate, makes them break a sweat and increases their breathing rate.

children exercising

Exercise assists with the development of muscle and bone strength and sports such as football, tennis and gymnastics are perfect for these areas of growth. It is important for exercise to be fun, especially for younger children, as they are more likely to want to participate if they are enjoying each activity they do.

As children become more coordinated and sociable, parents may find that early enrolment in regular clubs ensures they maintain the momentum to continue with exercise. Becoming a member of a sports team, joining a martial arts club and tennis lessons are all excellent methods of making exercise a way of life for you your growing child.

Get Creative

Not all children are thrilled by the idea of sports, but there are cunning ways to sneak exercise into your child’s routine. Does your child have a penchant for all things theatrical, then why not encourage them to join a local drama school? Warm-up exercises, improvisation and role play games are excellent forms of exercise and will have them exercising without them even realising it.

By exercising with your child not only will you see the health benefits, but the bond between you and your son or daughter will undoubtedly be increased.

There are numerous other advantages to exercise that are not immediately apparent: positive body image, mental health and team-building skills are just some of the benefits that can be acquired through exercise.

Exercise, like healthy eating, should be a way of life and so the earlier it becomes a routine part of your child’s daily routine, the better. If you are worried that your child may be overweight due to lack of exercise, or any other reason, visit your GP who will be able to carry out a thorough assessment and give you professional advice to assist you.






About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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