The Importance of Kids’ Exercise and Being a Good Role Model for Kids

Physical Activity

The 2020 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is a comprehensive assessment of children’s physical activity in Canada.

The Report Card reviews data from multiple sources, including peer-reviewed research, to give grades across 14 different indicators.

This Report Card has been used in more than 50 countries, provinces, and cities and serves as a blueprint for accumulating and disseminating information about kids’ exercise all around the world.

 ParticipACTION is an organization whose mission is to promote healthy living and movement in children and youth.

This report gives us an overall grade of a D+, mainly due to only nine percent of five to 17-year-olds meeting recommended daily amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Disappointingly, the results haven’t improved since 2013. In short, we need to get some exercise!

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

The good news is that 70 percent of children ages 3 to 4 get the recommended 180 minutes of daily activity. But, disappointingly, this small percentage couldn’t surpass the overall average.

According to “The Biggest Risk is Keeping Kids Indoors,” children (and their caregivers) spend too few hours outside, most likely spending time on screens, as the report indicates.

For those who are still reading this and not lacing up your shoes to go outside, we can explain why being outside is good for you.

How Much Physical Activity

Regular physical activity has been shown to improve health in at least two ways: improved cardiovascular and metabolic health lowered blood pressure, and reduced diabetes risk. In addition, your emotional well-being and mental health will also be improved, with virtually no chances for depression or anxiety.

Several critical points are highlighted in the study:

  • Children spend more time outdoors playing, moving, and sitting less.
  • In Canada, the probability of being kidnapped by a stranger is one in 14 million. The likelihood of dying while walking outside is less than that of dying inside a car.
  • Often, the air quality outside is much better than indoors.
  • The risks of cyber-predators and violence increase when you spend all your time in front of a screen.
  • Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are risk factors increased by physical inactivity.

So what do we do?

I personally suggest getting off your behind and getting outside as a family, and getting up and moving. Enough is enough; we need to change our sedentary ways to lead healthy, long lives. But, unfortunately, TV, email, and this blog can all wait.

People learn from them; kids also learn from us because we model healthy (or not-so-healthy) behaviors. They see us eating vegetables and do the same. As a family and as a nation, we should connect with nature and see this great country.

Aerobic Exercise

If you wish, go for a walk, a hike, explore the nearest ravine or park. Sit on your bike, skate, or do a cannonball into your pool or lake. But, of course, it would be best if you did it regardless of what you intend to accomplish.

I find myself spending more time outdoors after watching my kids outside. They notice such beauty in things I usually overlook.

Your kids may be busy looking at the vivid colors of trees, watching caterpillars moving on the ground, and observing the way water flows over rocks while you stress about your endless emails, dinner plans, and laundry.

I was reminded of these simple things on our last ravine walk because my two-year-old has a natural appreciation of the forest around us. He inspired me to pay closer attention to the sounds and smells of the woods. It was beautiful.

I love it and will continue doing this in the winter. I know snow is cold, but it is still fun. So help yourself and your family out. Spend some time outside this week, this weekend, and this summer.

You’ll have the same kind of fun as you were as a child when you make snow angels. Don’t worry; there’s nothing wrong with doing that as an adult.

You, your kids, and your mind will thank you for changing this pathetic D- to an A, or at least a B.

Kids Exercise

Kids should run, jump, play exercise games and use indoor ball games to stay fit. But, of course, they can skip rope or crab walk across the floor as well.

Kids should also do squats and lunges depending on what they are comfortable doing for physical activity at their age level, so they don’t hurt themselves while staying active.

Muscle Strengthening Exercises

These exercise ideas can get the entire family moving together. Here are some exercise examples for all kids ages:

-Bench step-ups – Step right foot, then left, up onto a low bench, and down again. Switch your starting side with each set to work both sides evenly!

-Burpees – From standing jump feet back into plank position while lowering legs for a pushup in between reps before jumping them back under you

-Calf raises – Lift on toes holding briefly before slowly coming all way down

-Jumping rope- helps core muscles

-Yoga poses- helps core and arm strength, as well as posture and balance

-Push-ups- young kids can start doing push-ups young, so when they get older, it will be easier.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Do Canadian children get enough kids to exercise?

Sadly, kids and adults all need to get exercise to stay healthy, and this report shows are not getting enough. Kid’s need at least an hour a day to be physically active for a healthy lifestyle.

What are some ways to incorporate more exercise into our lives?

Role model healthy behaviors with your children. Let’s all get off our butts and run around outside with our kids. Playing tag, going for a swim, or a bike ride. Use some chalk to make hopscotch play areas or play soccer in the park. Regular exercise and active playtime are essential.

Do our kids need to join more organized sports teams?

If your child enjoys organized sports, there are plenty of options out there. But your child need not be an athlete to get enough kids to exercise. Any activity where the heart gets pumping is enough, and these activities are accessible for free and with no commitment.

Dr. Dina Kulik - Author - Kids health and parenting advice.Dr Dina Kulik - Author - Kids Health and Parenting Advice

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About Dr. Dina Kulik MD, FRCPC, PEM

Dr. Dina Kulik completed her Pediatrics Residency and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Dina is one of Canada’s leading child health media experts, providing child health information through television, radio, print media, and via her blog Above all, Dina’s greatest joy is her family, and being the mom of four crazy boys.

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