Daily Physical Activity

In today’s fast-paced world, ensuring that our children get the right amount and type of physical activity is paramount for their overall well-being.
The American Heart Association offers clear guidelines: kids should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week, or a combination of both.
So, how do you make sure your child is getting the right dose of exercise? It’s not just about how much they move; it’s also about what kinds of activities they engage in, how often they do it, and even when they choose to be active.
From the types of activities that provide the most benefit to understanding the importance of strength training, we’ll explore all the vital details to help you guide your child toward a healthy and active lifestyle.
Whether your child is an exercise enthusiast or just starting on their fitness journey, these tips will help set them on the path to physical well-being.

How Much Physical Activity is Advised?

The significance of physical activity in maintaining good health cannot be overstated. Renowned health organizations, such as the American Heart Association, have laid out explicit guidelines on the necessary amount of physical activity. The suggestion is a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly. Also, a blend of moderate and vigorous activities could be used to achieve these guidelines. These recommended daily physical activity figures are aimed at helping you reach optimal health.

What Types of Physical Activity are Commended?

Physical activity often brings to mind images of running or hitting the gym. However, it’s not restricted to these activities. Moderate aerobic activities encompass brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and even a round of doubles tennis. These activities are easy to slot into your daily schedule and, surprisingly, contribute significantly towards overall physical health.

If you are inclined towards more intense physical activities, options include running, jumping rope, or playing singles tennis. These fall under vigorous aerobic activities, which require more energy and result in a notable increase in heart rate, boosting cardiovascular health.

What is the Required Duration for Physical Activity?

Consistency is paramount in deriving the benefits of physical activity. It is vital to engage in physical activity for a minimum of 10 minutes at a stretch. This contradicts the general notion that hours are needed at the gym to sustain good health.

When is the Optimal Time for Physical Activity?

The ideal time for physical activity varies from person to person. Nonetheless, many health experts suggest aiming for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. If scheduling a 30-minute block for physical activity proves challenging, it can be divided into three 10-minute sessions throughout the day. The main goal is to meet your daily physical activity target.

Is Standing or Sitting Better?

In this digital era, extended periods of sitting is a common occurrence, often with negative health repercussions. Sedentary behavior, such as prolonged sitting, has been linked to health risks like obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

Conversely, standing instead of sitting burns more calories and helps improve blood sugar levels. Standing counts as physical activity, emphasizing that every bit of movement contributes towards your daily physical activity goal.

How Regularly Should I Engage in Strength Training?

Strength training is an integral part of physical activity. As we age, our muscle mass reduces, but strength training can help sustain or even increase it. Adults require at least two days weekly of strength training to maintain muscle mass. Apart from improving your physique, this form of physical activity plays a role in preventing diseases like osteoporosis.

How Frequently Should I Be Strength Training?

When considering our personal health, a balanced diet and an active lifestyle are often prioritized. However, the importance of strength training is sometimes overlooked. This form of exercise is vital for retaining and developing muscle mass as we age. So, you might ask, how often should I strength train? Health experts suggest a minimum of two days a week.

From as early as our 30s, our bodies naturally start losing muscle mass. This slow process is known as sarcopenia. Fortunately, strength training – or resistance or weight training – can counteract this decline, and even aid in muscle growth. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of heavy weightlifting; even simple exercises such as push-ups, lunges, or using resistance bands can make a difference. The key is consistency.

Two days a week of strength training is the minimum health experts advise. This frequency allows your muscles enough recovery time between sessions to heal and develop. Don’t forget to gradually increase your training intensity, especially if you’re new to this form of exercise. Begin with lighter weights and fewer repetitions, increasing as your body adapts.

What If I’m Not in Good Shape?

If you’re not currently physically active, that’s no reason not to start. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s never too late to embark on your fitness journey. Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.

Begin with small, achievable goals, slowly working your way up to the recommended levels of daily physical activity. You might start with a simple 10-minute walk around your block or by following a beginner’s yoga video on the internet. Gradually, you can increase your workout intensity and duration.

Although it may seem hard at first, remember that your body is more resilient than you think. With consistent effort, you’ll see improvements in your strength, endurance, and overall fitness over time. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Is It Safe for Me to Exercise?

Yes, most people can safely engage in an exercise routine. However, it’s crucial to consult your doctor before starting if you have a heart condition or other health problems.

Your doctor or a fitness professional can help tailor a program that suits your current health and fitness level, considering any existing health conditions or injuries. This ensures your exercise routine is not only effective but also safe.

Remember, it’s not normal for exercise to cause pain or discomfort. If it does, you need to seek medical advice immediately. Always listen to your body and modify your workouts as necessary.

What Are the Benefits of Physical Activity?

Regular physical activity provides an abundance of health benefits. Let’s explore some of these:

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most noticeable benefits of regular physical activity, as it helps burn calories and boost your metabolism, thus preventing weight gain.

Physical activity is also crucial for lowering your blood pressure. Regular exercise strengthens your heart, enabling it to pump more blood with less effort, thereby reducing the pressure on your arteries and lowering your blood pressure.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Regular physical activity can help control risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, thus reducing your risk.

Regular physical activity can also reduce your risk of stroke. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of stroke due to improved heart and blood vessel health.

Physical activity can help prevent conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and depression. It also aids in improving cognitive function, sleep quality, and increasing your lifespan.

In conclusion, stay active, be happy, and enjoy a healthy life.