How much exercise does a grade-schooler need?
With obesity reaching 20% of the school aged children, the importance of diet and exercise for kids is becoming more apparent. So how much exercise is a healthy amount for kids in grade school?
My 9 year old takes a 45 minute dance class and 1 hour zumbAtomic class. It's a great excercise program designed for kids age 4 thru 12. My 7 year old plays soccer in the spring, fall and then it's baseball in the summer. Both of my children are "outdoor" kids. They would much rather be outside running around with friends than play video games or watch television. I think it is best to play a few organized sports, but also leave time to just be kids and run around with their neighborhood friends.
All we can do as parents is give our children the opportunities and knowledge to lead a healthy lifestyle and hope it sticks with them as adults!
I've heard the figure of 1 hour per day at very least of vigourous exercise for primary school aged kids - and this includes all organised sport plus incidental running around and boisterous play. This is a minimum but not hard to reach if the kids have plenty of opportunities to play, say, at school, in the street or the garden/yard. But it might be hard to reach if people live in small appartments and drive to school, and it can be require a bit more planning for single children because they don't have other siblings to "bounce off" and chase etc.
I think it's important to leave plenty of time for the incidental running around and not think that you have to pay someone to have an organised session of sport/dance/games - kids can get really hot and sweaty just going mad on their own!
I have two boys, 13 and 12. We do not participate in organized sports, (because of knee injuries from Opti. football) and I have no problems with then 'exercising'. They have an X-Box 360, a Play Station, and a wii, and several games for each. The only time they play them is if its freezing cold out or they are sick. There are times I think I wasted money on those 'toys' . They have bicycles and scooters, footballs, soccer balls, basketballs, ladder golf, baseball stuff. And now that summer is upon us, they will be where ever there is water. The local community pool? Forget it!! They go to the local ponds (3), the lake, or the river. My problem is getting them to stay home long enough for them to clean their bedroom and do their laundry. They are literally outside from dawn to dusk, and even then they'll say "why do we have to come in? It's not dark yet.)
My daughter is 9 and she swims at least 3-4 times a week for 90 minutes.
Besides organized sports practices and games, my kids are outside 24/7, riding bikes, scooters, running, races, made up soccer/lacrosse games...simply physical PLAYING! We walk to anything we can and basically save the sedentary stuff for rainy days. Just get them out there. They will do the rest.
They need the same amount as any adult of course! My 3 and 5 year old take ballet/tap (one 45 minute class a week), gymnastics (one 45 minute class for my 3 year old and a hour long one for my 5 year old), and soccer (one 30 minute practice and a 45 minute game per week). We are trying to figure out how to put in more classes with my daughter starting school in the fall. Kids have WAY MORE energy than adults and can do much more so at the very least they should be doing what we are recommended to do. Even with classes and eating healthy my kids have 6-8 packs but they also have padding on them so I'm sure they could do double the load.