Can exercise really improve kids’ health? Yes! As little as 10 minutes a day of high-intensity physical activity could help some children reduce their risk of developing heart problems and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, according to a study led by a researcher at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and recently published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
“The results suggest that substituting modest amounts of vigorous physical activity for longer-duration light exercise may have cardiometabolic benefits above and beyond those conveyed by moderate activity and the avoidance of sedentary behavior,” said the study’s lead author, Justin B. Moore, Ph.D., associate professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist.
How can parents encourage their children to be physically from the time they’re born? In my opinion, make physical activities and games FUN for the whole family! The key to successful participation is creativity and positive reinforcement as well as scheduling a regular time during the week as “family playtime” so children will learn to emulate their parents. Families need to work – and play – together to enhance physical fitness while building stronger relationships. With an integrated approach, parents, grandparents and children can create fun, recreational games that also increase self-esteem – and help families bond – while increasing kids’ physical activity.
- Celebrate the beginning of spring and get moving! Schedule one afternoon a week for the family to do yard work together. (Even if your toddler just plays in the dirt with sticks.) Studies show that you can burn about 350 calories an hour mowing the lawn or 175 calories for 30 minutes of raking last year’s remaining leaves. Not only will you get a great workout, your yard will look great too.
- Help kids read between the lines. Toby Smithson, RDN, CDE, founder of DiabetesEveryDay.com and coauthor of the new book, Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies, explains that it’s key to teach kids, even from a very young age, to be food media literate. “It’s important for parents and children to understand food advertising and to take a stand against it by not always giving in to it, Smithson says. Because children are exposed to thousands of hours of targeted advertising for fast food, snacks, and sugar-sweetened cereal, Smithson urges parents to help their kids read between the lines of food marketing strategies. (You can learn more about food marketing and children by checking out Food Marketing to Youth and other info from Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.)
- Play actively. It’s critical to keep your kids moving throughout the day as much as possible (and to join in on the fun when you can). Physical activity naturally stimulates chemicals that help clear glucose out of the blood and helps to prevent diabetes. For most kids, 60 minutes or more of physical activity is recommended daily. (For more ideas to help your kids – and entire family – stay fit, check out Tips for Getting Active by the National Heart Lung, & Blood Institute (NHLBI)).
Do want your kids to get off the couch? Concerned about their weight management? Searching for a physical activity where your children will have fun and want to keep coming back? Fitness for Health’s Healthy Heart class is just the ticket. Your kids will have a blast while breaking a sweat with our heart-pumping, exergaming program. Using our state-of-the-art equipment, kids will get fit, feel good and get healthy.
This program is a cardio clinic used to help children that are overweight. It is a successful product of our collaboration with Potomac Pediatrics to help improve kids’ health and fitness for kids.
Join the fight against childhood obesity and register for our Healthy Heart program today!