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Children and Exercising

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Children and Exercising





When you think about your children exercising what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Is it joining your child at a gym; or is it playing with your children in the park; or is it joining your child in as many sporting events as possible and hoping that they will get their weekly physical activity through organized sport.

The truth of the matter is; longevity for kids wanting to exercise comes from them, and they need to find something that they enjoy. There is no use joining them in the gym if they don’t want to go to the gym or enrolling them in 5 different sporting activities if they have no interest in organized sport.

The key is to offer enough variety and stimulation that they are actively engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day of the week. The good news is that most kids get some exercise throughout the day especially when they are at school. Kids exercise when they have gym class at school, during recess, at dance class or soccer practice, while riding bikes, or when playing tag.







Why do we harp on kids getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day?

Exercise is important for kids for the following reasons:

It builds stronger muscles and bones especially when their body is growing and developing through puberty.

It helps regulate your child’s body weight and helps reduce health related issues like Obesity, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol.

It helps your children feel good about themselves due to the chemical reactions and hormones released when exercising.



Helps your kids sleep better ensuring that they are fresh and recharged each day.


Kids exercise doesn’t just involve one mode of physical activity. There are many different types of exercises that kids can engage in to give them a physical benefit. I have listed a number of these types below:


1.Endurance activities which usually involve aerobics that increases your child’s heart rate.

2.Strength exercises that involve your child using some form of resistance to move something. For example your child may be jumping in the pool, or doing pushups on the ground.

3.Stretching and flexibility involves your child lengthening their muscles when they for example are tying their shoelaces or helping you hang the clothes on the line.

4.Agility exercises which improve reaction times and movement. These types of activities occur when your child is engage in organized sport.

It is important as a parent that you encourage your child to engage in different types of activities that will cover these different types of exercises.

Endurance Exercises

Endurance exercise occurs when your child moves their body in such a way that they elevate their heart rate and sustain that elevated heart rate for a period of time that is usually longer than 2 minutes. There are many ways that your child could perform endurance activities. I have listed a few below:

Organised sporting activities like basketball, cricket, football, swimming etc

Playing with friends or family in the park

Helping with chores around the house like mowing the lawn, vacuuming the house

The key with endurance activities is to make them fun and enjoyable. Going for a ride or playing games in the pool can be great ways for your child to engage in aerobic activity without even realizing it.




Strength Exercises

Strength exercises, involves activities that require an exertion of force against something else. For example your child may like going to the park and climbing on the fixed equipment. Strength exercises occur when your child pulls themselves up on the fixed equipment or swings across the monkey bars or squats down to slide underneath a support rail.

Strength exercises isn’t about enrolling your child into the gym and having them lift weights or push resistance machines. This type of training can be beneficial and there have been many studies to show that weights can helps kids but the reality is that your child can get as much benefit in engaging in natural environments that enjoy playing with.

Stretching and Flexibility

The premise behind stretching and flexibility involves keeping your muscles lengthened so they can perform a range of motion as you and your child engage in their day to day activities. The truth is that your kids are always stretching and engaging in flexibility activities when they stretch when to get a toy just out of reach, practice a split, or do a cartwheel.

Agility Exercises

Agility exercises are specific drills and movements that allow your child improve their reaction times, movements and tend to be related specifically to activities like sport. If your child is engaged in organized sporting activities like soccer, basketball, ballet and netball then they would be performing agility exercises every time they avoid an opponent, shoot a ball in a net or change directions.

How Much Exercise Is Enough for your Children?

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) offers these activity guidelines for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers:


Minimum Daily Activity



No specific requirements

Physical activity should encourage motor   development


1½ hours

30 minutes planned physical activity AND   60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)


2 hours

60 minutes planned physical activity AND   60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)

School age

1 hour or more

Break up into bouts of 15 minutes or more

Source for table:

Read 4716 times Last modified on Saturday, 10 October 2015 23:52

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