The Hour of Power
Just how much physical activity should your kids be getting, and how do you encourage it?
The department of health and ageing recommends that AT A MINIMUM kids should be active for at least one hour on most days and should spend no more than two hours in front of the TV, computer games, internet etc on any day.( Personally I think 2 hours a day of screen time for young kids excessive, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
The American National Association for Sports and Physical Education similarly recommends
- children get one hour or more a day of moderate to vigorous exercise,
- participate in several bouts of 15 minutes or more of activity each day
- do not have periods of inactivity lasting longer than two hours.
In short, it’s good for your kids to move.
Physical activity in kids builds
- Muscular Strength and Endurance
- Aerobic / Cardiovascular Fitness
- Teamwork skills
- Lays the foundations for a healthy lifestyle
Encouraging Physical Activity in Kids
- It’s important for kids to the have the opportunity to be active each and every day. Keep lots of games and sports equipment on hand. Keep it simple (and therefore inexpensive). Balls, skipping ropes, hoola hoops, chalk to draw hopscotch squares on the footpath
- Be a role model. They need to see that you value physical activity and fitness. If you want your kids to be active, you need to be active too.
- Brainstorm some ideas with them. What’s fun for them, what’s not.?Most kids will be happy to get their power hour of activity(and more) if it’s fun, and if they feel it’s something they’ve had a say in.
- Make it a family activity. Kids love to play with their parents. Try some backyard cricket, a family walk after dinner, bike riding, walking to school or the shops, twister, or simply kicking the ball around in a park.
- Leave time for kids to have unstructured play, and keep the screens away. I’m always amazed at the games our kids come up with when left to their own devices. The kids in our street organise themselves into handicapped foot races, bike races, and “bus stop” – a highly complex game involving scooters and lots of rules – to name just a few. All the kids get into it from the two and half year old to the ten year old. So see if you can enlist some other kids to knock around with.
Organised sport is also a great way for kids to get active, develop self confidence and co-ordination, and improve their skills.They meet new kids and pick up ideas from them, and develop a routine which involves exercise. Most of these activities require certain techniques/skills, and these can be experienced in a learning environment that is fun and sociable at the same time.
Hooked on Health offer a number of kids running training sessions. Find out more. HOH Athletics.
Tell us what sort of activities your kids enjoy.