Many classrooms have not seen students in them since March. Health experts believe extended school closures could increase the risk factors that cause children and youth to gain weight. Childhood obesity is a significant risk factor for obesity into adulthood. Adult obesity has been linked to a wide variety of health problems including diabetes and heart disease. To put it mildly, keeping kids active is necessary to reduce risk factors for childhood obesity, despite a global pandemic.
Routine exercise is essential for everyone, no matter your age. Here are a few reasons why exercise is especially crucial for kids during the COVID-19 pandemic;
Physical activity reduces anxiety and stress. Just like adults, children may also be experiencing stress, anxiety, and sadness during these challenging times. Exercise and physical activity are proven mood-boosters and can help children reduce their stress levels and build emotional resilience.
Physical activity may prevent weight gain. During the pandemic, families have fewer opportunities for exercise and may be forced to change their eating habits. Exercise and physical activity can help kids burn calories and offset the effects of sedentary activities.
Physical activity boosts the immune system. Research shows that regular, moderate exercise has immune-boosting benefits that may help children and adults to fight off infections.
There are many ways you and your children can be active, even while practicing social distancing. The American Heart Association says kids should aim for 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity every day. Here are some ideas to get you and your family started;
Exercise as a family. Children will be more motivated to exercise if the entire family participates. Family walks, bike rides, dance parties, living-room yoga sessions, or backyard soccer games are just a few examples of how your household members can exercise together.
Turn house chores into a calorie burn! Chores like mowing the lawn, vacuuming, washing the car, or cleaning out the garage provide excellent opportunities for kids to build muscles and burn calories. Consider assigning your kids age-appropriate jobs that do double-duty by helping you accomplish household tasks.
Encourage outdoor adventures! Whenever possible, encourage your kids to get outside, even for a quick stroll around the block or a game of catch with a sibling. Several 10-minute outdoor exercise sessions can quickly add up to a full workout.
The holiday season has arrived and now is the perfect time to get into the habit of regular exercise and physical activity as we navigate into a new year with new COVID-19 challenges.