It’s one of those questions we get asked a lot here at the club. Are my children getting enough exercise? How often should they be running around outside? and sometimes, Can my kids do too much exercise?
Well the best answer we can give, and the one we tell all parents who ask, is that it really depends on each individual child. And of course, you know your kids better than anyone else.
Children are still growing, so too much physical exercise can impact upon this and cause problems later on in life. However, at the same time, exercise and movement is vital for a child’s physical development, strengthening their hearts, bones and muscles! So, it’s a balancing act!
The NHS Recommendations
The NHS recommends that all children between 5 and 18 years old should reduce time spent sitting around playing computer games or watching TV, and instead get outdoors and get exercising.
Ideally, all children should have:
• At least 60 minutes of moderate exercise every single day
• On some occasions throughout the week, this should be vigorous exercise, rather than just moderate
• At least 3 times a week, children should complete exercises for strong muscles, and exercises for strong bones
The Difference Between Moderate and Vigorous
Moderate activities are the kinds of things that children should be doing every single day, without you even thinking about. This could be having fun in the playground, walking to school, taking the dog out, skateboarding, or cycling around the field. It’s an activity that gets you moving, raises your heart rate and makes you sweat a little.
Vigorous exercise on the other hand is much more energetic. You’ll definitely know you’re exercising if you’re doing a vigorous exercise. It’s the kind of thing we specialise in with our kids clubs, here at Hale! This could be anything from swimming and running, to dancing and gymnastics, and is the kind of activity where you’ll need to catch you breath.
Building Strength and Muscle
Vigorous workouts are much better for your health, and so you should try and encourage your kids to get involved with these activities as often as you can. They are also ones which can often aid muscle and bone development – something that should be done 3 times a week according to those NHS guidelines.
Muscle strength will help young people regulate their blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight, as well as supporting bone strength too. The kinds of activities children should be doing once or twice a week are those which make them lift their own body weight, or push against resistance.
Gymnastics is great for this, as is a simple game like tug of war. Climbing ropes and trees, doing sit ups, playing rugby and playing tennis are all good examples too.
To build stronger bones, many of the same activities apply, and again, children should try and join in with activities once or twice a week – at least! Jumping games are always a fun exercise here, like skipping or hopscotch, whilst dancing, running and performing martial arts are other very good examples that will help kids develop good bone strength!
If you’d like your child to get more exercise, why not bring them down to try out one of our special, fun and effective kids classes!