Health and Fitness Matters



  Exercise for Children

What is the best exercise for children?

It is really a shame that so many kids are not getting enough exercise today. It does not seem like we should even have to worry about exercise for children. After all, kids love to run around and play, so why should adults have to think about setting up certain exercises for children to do? Yet the reality is that we have some of the most obese, sedentary, and unhealthy kids in American history. Kids spend way too much time watching television, surfing the web, or playing video games, and not enough time outdoors, running around....or walking as these two are enjoying!

Good exercise for kids is one of the most important ways to safeguard the future. An unhealthy childhood can lead to an unhealthy adulthood. Obesity in any child is avoidable unless there is a true medical problem.

The Many Benefits of Exercise:

  • stronger bones and muscles

  • decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

  • potentially lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels

Of course, the best way to stay fit is to do something that you enjoy to do. This goes double in the case of exercise for children. If you can have the kids play games that they like, they will be much more willing to push themselves and give it their all. Why have them running laps, when playing basketball can make for a more enjoyable exercise for children. Making fun out of exercise for children while they are actually playing will work so much better. You have to think like a kid to come up with a good exercise for children. Kids love games, so give them games that are good exercise!

How much exercise should children get?

According to the 2005 dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), all children 2 years and older should get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise on most days of the week, preferably every day. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that the average child is watching about 3 hours of TV and the average kid spends 5 1/2 hours on all media combined, including games & TV. So, it's important that children get physical activity to stay fit and healthy.

What are some of the workout programs or exercises children can do?

There are so many things to do that brings about active exercise for children of all ages. Chasing bubbles in the park looks pretty fun here! Other fun exercises for children include skating, bowling, laser tag, stair stepping while counting, walking the dog, or just playing in the water sprinkler. Most kids just give in naturally to the desire to play outdoors. Developing good habits and workout programs while children are young is very important. Encourage lots of activity since much of their time is spent in classes or confining situations.

One really valuable exercise for children is bike riding. It is a real mistake for parents to give their kids rides everywhere. Not only is it a big inconvenience and a waste of fossil fuels, but it also stops the kid from exercising. Why not give yourself more time and allow your kid to get a good workout. Biking is one of the worlds most popular and enduring exercises for children. And, in addition to being a great exercise for children, it is also a great way to teach self-reliance. If they have to provide their own transportation from an early age, they will learn to take responsibility for themselves.

Why not exercise with your children? Most schools make sure to provide exercise for children during school hours, but it is usually not enough. Kids need time to run around after school. You can help them to let off their nervous energy by running around with them. That way, you can both get your exercise at the same time, while having time to spend together. Staying active will insure obesity in child lifestyles will vanish over time. Take at least thirty minutes each day and jog or power-walk with your child making exercise for children that like to be outdoors seem like a challenge with the parents!

Schedule exercise for children into the day making it part of the routine. Embrace a healthy lifestyle and set a good example!


Frequently Asked Questions:

How much exercise for children is required each day?
What are some workout programs or healthy ideas of playful outdoor exercises for children if they don't play a sport?
How young should children be to start walking regularly as part of their daily exercise?

These questions and more have been answered here on our page about exercise for children.