Last week we talked about the new physical activity recommendations for adults. Today we’ll focus on the kiddos (age 6-17).
We know that kids who are active have stronger bones and muscles, a healthier heart and lungs and tend to have lower body fat. Physical activity helps children become healthier adults.
But adulthood may seem like a long way off. What about now? Physical activity can help your child feel energized, self-confident and happy. It helps them pay attention in school and sleep better too!
So how much physical activity does your child need? The new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans give us some helpful recommendations.
- Be active for 60 minutes or more every day. (Tip: Break up the minutes throughout the day.)
- Spend most of that time doing moderate-intensity activities, like riding a bike or scooter (non-motorized), playing catch or walking briskly.
- Include vigorous-intensity activities at least three days a week, like running and chasing games (tag or flag football), jumping rope, or sports like soccer, basketball and swimming.
- Mix in activities that strengthen muscles and bones, such as climbing and playing on monkey bars, running and jumping.
Children with physical disabilities can adapt activities to meet the guidelines their own way. Most importantly, physical activity should be fun for your child. They should do what they enjoy and try a variety of activities.
At the Iowa Department of Public Health we encourage children to be physical activity with a campaign called Play Your Way. One Hour A Day. Check out the video of two kids doing what they love at idph.iowa.gov/inn/play-your-way.
Suzy Wilson, RDN, LDN Community Health Consultant Iowa Department of Public Health