The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that Canadian kids between 5 and 17 years of age get at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity each day. Only 5% of 5- to 17-year olds are meeting these recommendations.1
This is surprising to me as kids are naturally active. Remember when your toddler first learned to walk? They didn’t stop, into everything and always on the move. We were exhausted chasing after them day after day.
Somewhere in our multi-tasking busy lives we have taught our kids to sit still, to entertain themselves with electronics and busy themselves indoors instead of looking for opportunities to get outside and play.
We need to understand the impact this can have on our kids long term health and make some big changes now to encourage your kids to be more active. A recent study revealed that 46% of Canadian kids get three hours or less of active play per week, including weekends.2 This is not enough.
We could focus on the negative statistics of inactive kids, but I’d rather look at the bright side and the benefits of raising active kids Active kids are more likely to be overall healthier, happier kids. A 2010 report in Science Daily found a medical study presented at a conference for American Heart Association that even links physical fitness to better school performance.3
10 Benefits of Raising Active Kids
Healthy body weight
More laughing and smiling
Longer attention span
Improved fitness level
Stronger bones and muscles
Learning new skills
Inactive kids grow up to be inactive adults and that is when the real health problems can begin. We need to start now and teach our children active lifestyle habits that will stay with them give them the best chance of becoming healthy active adults.
How can we do this? Being an active role model is the first step. There are certain things that are just done in our family, like brushing your teeth or going to sleep at night, heat our house being active outside as much as possible is just one more of those things.
Simple ideas such as an after dinner walk, a weekend hike, learning to run together, a bike ride to the ice cream shop or putting that basketball net to good use for the a little street action are easy ways to add activity to your families day.
I challenge you to get active with your children and tell me you don’t see happy smiling kids!
1*Source: 2009-2011 Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS; www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/100113/dq100113a-eng.htm)
2*Source: Active Healthy Kids Canada. (2012) Is active play extinct?: The Active Healthy Kids Canada report card on physical activity for children and youth 2012, Toronto, ON
3* Source: Science Daily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302185522.htm
We have been spending more time outdoors whether its a quick bike ride to running through the sprinklers and the kids are also sleeping better, win-win
So true! Thank you. We hike with our boy almost every day. (starting with carrying him when he was 2 days old.) He’s grown up to be very agile, captain of the cross country team and an avid ultimate frisbee player. He witnessed and participated in an active lifestyle always. I though he was uniquely athletic until I started meeting mountain kids families on the trail. The children were clearly more coordinated, tougher, stronger and had more endurance that nay of the kids we knew from the suburbs. We moved to the mountains mostly because we wanted him to grow up outside.
What a great comment – thank you! It is so true – we are in suburbs but I travel in very athletic circles with very active families so I know my kids are not “exceptional’ but to so many they seem to be so much more active. It is all perspective and what is around you. Glad to hear so many are living active lives as families.