Is my child exercising too much or too little?
Tue 24 September 2019
We Make Footballers News
Is my child exercising enough? In an age where kids are increasingly entertained by computer games, tablets and television, it’s a question that a lot of parents will end up asking themselves.
To stay healthy, children need to do three different types of physical activity a week - aerobic exercise, bone-strengthening exercises and muscle-strengthening exercises – and they should be doing at least 60 minutes a day with a variety of moderate and vigorous activities.
Everyday moderate activity for children
Moderate activity is the easiest form of exercise that a child can get. It raises your heart rate and makes you sweat, but you are still able to hold a conversation. According to NHS guidance, if you have enough breath to talk but not enough to sing a song, then you are exercising at a moderate level.
Children can undertake this form of exercise pretty much every day. Walking to school, playing in the playground, riding a bicycle or walking a dog are all examples of moderate activity. It’s easy to get the required amount of moderate exercise with just a few lifestyle changes, such as ditching the car and walking more.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to vigorous activity is that one minute provides the same health benefits as two minutes of moderate activity. So, if you play an hour of football then you are exercising to the same level as two hours of walking. However, there’s no recommendation for how long a session of vigorous activity should last.
The best way to get children involved in this form of exercising is by signing them up to various sports academies like We Make Footballers academy. We’ve already mentioned football. Rugby, swimming, running, gymnastics, dance and martial arts are all vigorous activities which will leave you unable to say more than a few words afterwards.
Their aim is to raise your heart rate and leave you out of breath. The easiest way to do this is to be involved in a fun activity which your child looks forward to each week!
Muscle and bone strengthening activities
On three days a week, the 60 minutes of physical activity that a child takes part in such include muscle and bone strengthening activities. These are vital for ensuring that a child grows up to be strong and healthy as well as regulating blood sugar and blood pressure and helping to maintain a healthy weight.
The good news is that many of the sports that come under the vigorous activity umbrella also help strengthen muscles and bones. Football, rugby and gymnastics are all excellent for both muscles and bones. Walking or running can help skeletal development while general play such as climbing a tree or playing on a swing will strengthen muscles.
Sports such as badminton or tennis won’t give a child the sort of workout they need for either moderate or vigorous activity, but they are both excellent for bone and muscle development. If you’ve got a child who can’t stand aerobic exercise, then racket sports can be a means of ensuring they don’t go without the necessary activity to ensure that their bones and muscles are strengthened thoroughly.
The dangers of over-exercising
For those with children who are extremely active, the concern might be that they are actually over-exercising.
If you’ve got a child who plays too much sport, then they are putting themselves in danger of injuries and burnout. That can be detrimental to their development, so it’s important to ensure that a child isn’t putting too great a toll on their young body.
Children should have one day off a week from vigorous activity and play no more than five days a week of the same sport. Constantly playing the same sport and using the same muscle groups can lead to wear and tear on certain parts of the body, which is why it’s important that children take part in a variety of exercises as part of their weekly football activities.
What’s the optimum amount of exercise a child should get? That’s impossible to say as each individual is different.
But generally, an hour a day of physical activity is needed. One of those days should be solely moderate exercise, three of them should include bone- and muscle-strengthening exercises and a child shouldn’t play the same sport for more than five days in a week.
Get a balance approaching something like that, and you are on the right track.