Physical activity is good for you. Yes, we all know that. But did you know that making time for physical activity during the day can actually make a difference in your mental and emotional health, too? It’s true! Taking that walk at lunch with your kids or having a quick yoga break in the morning can make a world of difference in your child’s mental and emotional well-being, but many kids aren’t getting that.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), only 25% of kids get the amount of physical activity they need. That leaves 75% of kids having less than the recommended amount of physical activity. Their recommendations for physical activities by age include:
- Infants: Tummy time while awake; 30+ minutes throughout day
- Toddlers: Neighborhood walks or free play outside; 3+ hours throughout the day
- Preschoolers: Tumbling, throwing, and catching; 3+ hours throughout the day
- Elementary students: Free play or organized sports focused on fun; 60+ minutes of activity most days
- Middle schoolers: Activities that encourage socialization, but avoiding single sport focusing; 60+ minutes of activity most days
- Teenagers: Activities that encourage socialization and competition, when appropriate; 60+ minutes of activity most days
But why is prioritizing physical activity important? Why does it matter? Making time for physical activity every day can have benefits beyond physical wellness. Prioritizing active times during the day can help your kids boost their concentration at school, diffuse stress, and improve their self-esteem and their sleep quality. It also provides them with new ways to cope with stress and opportunities to build new social relationships.
Making time for physical activity throughout your child’s day also gives you an opportunity for family time that might otherwise be spent watching TV on the couch or playing games on a cell phone or tablet. Try fitFlow or the Wellness Way Sensory Path next time you’re looking for a new way to get active!
Being active doesn’t have to be complicated, or even require equipment. Going for a walk, dancing, or doing yoga at home is just as good as playing basketball or going for a run. The most important thing is to get your child’s heart rate up and to get them to use their muscles! Make sure you have a good snack to refuel after being active, too.
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