“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . but the world may be different . . . because I was important in the life of a child.”

~ Forest E. Whitcraft

Monday, July 19, 2010

Take Advantage of School Holidays to Get Kids Moving

Physical activity helps kids maintain a healthy body weight and build healthy muscles, joints and bones. But did you know exercise also helps kids improve their academics? Exercise helps kids sleep at night, reduce stress, and feel better about themselves. It also prepares them for learning activities.

Experts say kids need a minimum of 60 to 90 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA.) Most kids aren't getting that exercise, and it affects both their health and their school performance.

What About Physical Education in School?

According to Get Kids in Action, a web site aimed at improving kids' fitness and health, "Only 10% of schools offer daily physical education classes, and many of those don't meet the time requirements of weekly exercise."

Requirements for gym classes vary from one jurisdiction to another. Where I live in Quebec, schools are required to provide two hours a week of phys. ed. classes. My son gets that in two one-hour blocks, which I appreciate. But it's obvious that he won't get enough activity if we rely on gym classes alone.

Adapting Healthier Habits Over the Summer Vacation

Take advantage of the upcoming summer holidays to gradually increase the amount of time your kids are active each day. Canada's Physical Activity Guide suggests a plan that allows a sedentary person to increase MVPA in small increments, raising them each month over the space of five months. To make the most out of this method use the summer holidays, when kids will want to be moving outside, as an easier starting point.


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