Did you know 55.4% of children and teenagers between the ages of 9 and 17 do not complete the recommended amount of physical activity set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Also, there are numerous benefits of physical activity for preschoolers. In fact, the ALADINO study coordinated by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN) confirms that 4 out of 10 children from 6 to 9 years old are overweight and 64% of children dedicate more hours of their day to sedentary activities (television, computer, or cell phone).
A “healthy lifestyle” does not just mean a balanced diet. The importance of regular physical activity, sleep routines, and working on mental health are all vital.
There are benefits of physical activity youth, as well as benefits of exercise for teenagers. Aside from cardiovascular health and healthy weight, exercise for children helps strengthen their bones, joints, and muscles. According to WHO, physical activity promotes the development of social skills among youth (self-confidence, social interaction, integration). It can also help with feelings of anxiety and depression.
How to ensure children achieve the recommended hour of physical activity:
Recommendations for daily physical activity and sports:
Kids 5 to 17 years old should participate in a minimum of 60 minutes daily of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Daily physical activity of more than 60 minutes leads to greater health benefits.
Minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity daily: Children ages 5 to 17 years old should participate in about 60 minutes daily of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Physical activity improves health and reduces the risk of developing chronic illnesses, including obesity and diabetes.
Limit the use of screens (maximum of two hours a day): Children and teens that spend a substantial of time watching television, playing video games, at the computer, or with their phone or tablet, are physically less active. WHO recommends a maximum of two hours of screen time a day. There are many fun physical activities for children to engage in outdoors, such as bike riding, going for a swim and gardening.
Lead an active lifestyle every day: Regular physical activity helps to maintain a healthy body, improves the development of the muscular system, and benefits cardiovascular health. It is important to not confuse physical activity with sports: All physical activities benefit one’s health!
Practice physical activity among family: Not only is exercise for children’s growth and development important, but it’s an excellent way to form a strong family bond and strengthen the connections between children and their families.