Physical Activity: Are Your Kids Getting Enough?

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Being physically active everyday helps to maintain a healthy body weight, builds stronger bones, improves fitness, increases self-confidence, and decreases the chances of developing diseases such as type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. It also helps with stress and anxiety and is a coping technique the whole family can participate in. Here in the Kootenays, there are so many wonderful opportunities for physical activities and working with a Physiotherapist (PT) can help you discover what might work well for your family.

So how much activity is enough anyways?

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that children aged 0-4 years accumulate 180 minutes a day of activity. Youth 5-17 years need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day.  Just over 80% of kids under 4 are getting the recommended amount, and less than 10% of kids 5-17 are getting enough daily activity.

How do we get our kids to be more active and reach the recommended minutes of daily activity?

Being a Physiotherapist, I am pretty passionate about helping families get active because I have seen the benefits this can have on kids.  However, I know we get busy and have a lot to juggle – especially during the school year.  A PT can help provide information on the benefits of exercise and help you strategize how to incorporate it into your family’s lifestyle.

In the meantime, we are a few things to try to get your child active:

  • Be good role models by being active adults and doing activities as a family.
  • Decreasing screen time to less than 2 hours a day.
  • Walking to school or to a friend’s house instead of driving.
  • Exploring your community on foot, or bike, or snowshoes.
  • Participate in a variety of activities that are enjoyable including skiing, skating, biking, swimming, soccer, running, and hiking. There are so many options!

Exercise is good for our bodies and our minds and is an essential part your child’s growth and development.  Physiotherapy can help you help your child to get on a path towards better health through physical activity. Let’s remember to make it fun too!

Amanda, PT

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