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Resource #37

Keeping Kids Active – 5-12 years old

Helping children stay active can be easy for some and a challenge for others. Let’s look at the reasons why physical activity is so important for our children.

The benefits for kids

Active kids are healthy kids both physically and mentally. The benefits of increasing physical activity in children can include:

  • improved cardiovascular fitness (heart and lungs)
  • maintenance of a healthy weight
  • improved posture
  • increased self-esteem and confidence
  • improved concentration
  • help with relaxation
  • building stronger bones and muscles
  • improved balance
  • skills development
  • increased flexibility
  • opportunities to make friends and enhance social skills
  • improved sleep patterns

 

Get the right amount

The Australian Government has guidelines for optimal physical activity levels for children. Put simply the guidelines state children aged over five years should try and:

  1. Get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day and several hours of light physical activity
  2. Limit sedentary time – break up long periods of sitting and limit screen time

Physical activity for children is any activity that:

  • increases their heart rate
  • uses their muscles and
  • gets them breathing a bit heavier

Kids can be physically active at any time throughout the day. So you can encourage your children to get up and move throughout the day in lots of different ways, rather than sitting for long periods of time.

Stay Motivated

Kids love a rewards chart, Exercise Right has a fantastic activity calendar to keep track of all the ways your child stays active. Or try Active Geelong’s activity tracker. Why not print one for yourself too and set up a family challenge. Research has shown that active parents are more likely to have active children as they role model physically active and healthy behaviours. Recognising and rewarding yourself and your child for positive health behaviours will set you all up for success.

Active for all abilities

Exercise is very important to improve general physical and mental health for any children of all abilities and health levels. It’s also important to note that a lack of physical activity can lead to further deconditioning and make general moving even more difficult. Exercise physiologists have developed a series of handouts promoting physical activity for lots of different types of health conditions from cerebral palsy to diabetes.