Parents who homeschool their children may think putting them into organized sports and physical activities keeps them fit, but a study by Rice University researchers in Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology states that kids may need more physical activity.
Faculty at the Rice Department of Kinesiology studied data gathered from 100 home-schooled children age 10-17 to back up their assumption that such activities are sufficient to keep children physically fit. The data, however, proved them wrong.
Laura Kabiri, a sports medicine lecturer at Rice, says the problem lies in how much activity is part of organized regimens. According to the World Health Organization, children should get about an hour of primarily aerobic activity a day, but other studies have noted children involved in non-elite sports actually get only 20 to 30 minutes of the moderate to vigorous exercise they require during practice.
“We assumed — and I think parents largely do as well — that children enrolled in an organized sport or physical activity are getting the activity they need to maintain good body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular development,” Kabiri states. “We found that is not the case. Just checking the box and enrolling them in an activity doesn’t necessarily mean they’re meeting the requirements they need to stay healthy.”
Kabiri explains the researchers suspect the same is true for public school students in general physical education classes, where much of the time is spent getting the class organized. “When you only have 50 minutes, it’s very easy for half that time or more to go to getting them in, out and on-task,” she says.
The authors concluded parents would be wise to give their children more time for unstructured physical activity every day.
“Parents know if they attend activities and don’t see their kids breathing and sweating hard, then they’re not getting enough exercise,” Kabiri says. “So there should be more opportunities for unstructured activity. Get your kids outside and let them run around and play with the neighborhood kids and ride their bikes.”
I have worked with families and young children for more than 30 years as the founder and owner of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic fitness facility utilizing cutting-edge technology to help children and adults reach their full, physical potential. I know firsthand that the power of play cannot be underestimated.
Fitness should be fun – for kids and parents alike. Would you rather run on a treadmill or play a pick-up game of basketball with your buddies or your family at the park? Would you prefer to do chin-ups or go sledding on the steepest hill in the neighborhood?
Make fitness fun! Play with your kids as a family. Your kids will thank you for spending valuable time with them making lifelong memories and your kids’ health – and your health – will improve while combating obesity. It’s a win-win for your family!
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Is your family in need of fitness assistance? Fitness for Health can help your family create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun. We offer customized exercise programs designed to fit your exact needs and help you reach your unique health goals. And, we offer family workouts so families can become active together. Attend our free, Open House for Prospective Families on Sunday, March 3, from 5pm – 6pm to learn about our athletic training, therapeutic exercise, occupational therapy and physical therapy offerings. Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn about our programs or call us at 301-231-7138.