Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Motivates Kids?

So there's a lot to gain from regular physical activity, but how do you encourage kids to do it? The three keys are:

Choosing the right activities for a child's age: If you don't, the child may be bored or frustrated.
Giving kids plenty of opportunity to be active: Kids need parents to make activity easy by providing equipment and taking them to playgrounds and other active spots.
Keeping the focus on fun: Kids won't do something they don't enjoy.
When kids enjoy an activity, they want to do more of it. Practicing a skill — whether it's swimming or riding a tricycle — improves their abilities and helps them feel accomplished, especially when the effort is noticed and praised. These good feelings often make kids want to continue the activity and even try others.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Get kids off the couch after school

A new report says that Canadian children and youth are not getting enough exercise especially after school.

The 2011 Report Card of Active Healthy Kids Canada documents that from approximately 3 to 6 p.m. children and teens get an average of 14 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-physical activity (MVPA).

This compares with an average of six hours of screen time for Canadian teens outside of school. Screen time includes TV, computer and video games. The report recommends the after school hours as a time of opportunity to get kids moving and suggests more supervised activities for children and teens immediately after the bell rings.

Though unconfirmed by research, 13,500 steps are considered roughly equivalent to 60 minutes of MVPA. Source: 2011 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Car d on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

The reason for the concern, the report notes, is that in recent years, obesity and physical inactivity have been a major focus of child health concerns in Canada. Evidence suggests that the percentage of obese children and youth is on the rise, leading to a physical inactivity crisis in Canada.

Art Quinney of Active Healthy Kids Canada says the federal government now spends about half what it did per person on promoting active living than it did in 1986. Quinney, also an exercise physiologist at the University of Alberta, says that doesn't make sense.

"The current generation of children will have a shorter life span than their parents. And it's simply due to the chronic conditions, that they will face as they move into their middle and later years are starting now as children. It is something that is happening right here, in our communities, now"

Physical activity can lead to significant improvements to cholesterol and blood lipid levels, hypertension also improves with exercise and there are improvements in symptoms of depression with aerobic exercise. Resistance training, weight-bearing activities and jumping improved bone density in children and teens.