Kids And Exercise, Part 1
Pat Zifferblatt | August 7, 2008

Rick Vasquez, Better Life Unlimited’s marketing manager, has twin five-year old boys. Having been around them, I can tell you they are perpetual-motion machines. They never stop moving. Ever. They have big appetites, but they’re not on the road to a weight problem unless they become sedentary. Recent research says that’s exactly what will happen.

In a study of children ages 9-15 years old, physical activity of moderate to high intensity declined every year. At 9, children averaged over three hours of moderate to intense exercise, but by the time they were 15, it declined to just 49 minutes for boys and 38 minutes for girls. The researchers didn’t attempt to find out why. Maybe children just lose the ability to play the older that they get. Video games, text messaging, and the lack of physical education in schools are just some of the reasons.

Parents can make a difference and the earlier the better. Make regular physical activity a part of your family life. Taking hikes in the park. Riding bikes. Even playing kick-ball in the back yard is better than just sitting. Just remember kids like games, not planned exercise like you might do for yourself. Maybe if you make moving a part of their life early enough, it’s a habit they will keep for the rest of their lives.

Reference: Nader PR, et al. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity from ages 9 to 15 years. JAMA. 2008;300(3):295-305.
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