I got a question today from someone who is leading a program here in North Dakota to promote healthy habits for kids. She wanted to include an exercise class with education about healthy eating and activity for 4th and 5th graders.
I thought it was a great idea to be able to help kids get their exercise and be a opportunity for the kids to see adults model good habits.
So, how long and how hard should kids exercise?
The general recommendation is for kids to get at least 60 minutes a day of moderate or more intense exercise per day.
O-kay. 60 minutes is clear, but how moderate is moderate?
Here are a couple or resources to help you and your kids set a good pace.
1. http://blogs.elon.edu/ptkids/category/tm-tools/24-perceived-exertion-scale-for-children/ The link outlines a 10 point scale of exertion with child-friendly descriptions. Moderate exertion would be at a 5/10. Some versions have faces to go with the numbers like a kid's pain rating scale. Scoring: 1â€¦â€¦Very, Very Easy 2â€¦â€¦Very Easy 3â€¦â€¦Easy 4 â€¦â€¦Just Feeling a Strain 5â€¦â€¦.Starting to get hard 6â€¦â€¦.Getting Quite hard 7â€¦â€¦.Hard 8â€¦â€¦..Very Hard 9â€¦â€¦..Very, Very Hard 10â€¦â€¦So Hard I am going to Stop
You've already taken the first and most difficult step, making the decision to improve your health! It is never easy to make changes and it can be very frustrating when the results don't seem to match the effort.
The next step, which you may have already taken, is to see your doctor for a checkup. That will give you and your doctor a starting point and a better idea of where you are at. A check up can also help your doctor see if there are some complicating health conditions that are making it hard for you to meet your goals.
Calculating your BMI and finding out the percentile or ranking, helps determine the level of increased risk of health problems, and thus helps determine how intense your personalized plan should be.
After trying the usual things (like healthier eating, increasing physical activity, cutting down sugary drinks, decreasing TV/computer/screen time) then there are other ways to ramp up.
Maybe things would be easier with a group of other kids? Sometimes a program over 10 weeks or so that includes some brief classes about cooking healthier, strategies for increasing physical activity in day-to-day activities, exploring what the barriers might be that are making it hard to change. Also, setting up a specific plan for healthy eating with a nutritionist or exercise specialist can give you a specific roadmap to follow. Sometimes it is hard to meet a less defined goal of "eating better" or "exercising more."
There are different options for kids at top of the charts, percentiles in the 99% range. There are a few very specialized centers around the country that do consider medication or surgery for some kids. It is not a first option and usually most other options have been tried before that point. I don't know if that is a good fit for you or not.
In the meantime, are there tips that other teens or parents would like to share with Brittany? Maybe a strategy that seemed to work well for your family?View Thread
The obstacle course sounds like a lot of fun. That kind of rough and tumble indoor activity may be messy, but create lifelong childhood memories for both kids and parents.
Wii or other types of exergaming is also a good option. It is also something kids and parents can do together. Imagine the unintentional comedic gold of a parent (especially me) hooping the hula on the Wii Fit or dancing along with Connect.
If after a long day of work you need a few minutes to get off your feet, then how about a timed scavenger hunt? You could have a list of items to fetch from around the house (either words or pics) and send her little one off to scurry after them before time runs out.View Thread
Our weather was more like October than December/January this year, so the usual sledding, skating (and shoveling) were out.
My son was able to play football in the yard with his buddies.
Over Thanksgiving, our whole family had the 3rd Annual Tiongson Turkey Trot. It was sorta like a flash mob of walkers/joggers/strollers through the neighborhood. Great way to start out the holiday season.
While traveling, I would hit the hotel gym with my daughter who would work on her dance team routine and stretch while I was on the machines.View Thread
First, I you haven't already tried to objectively talk to him about his height for weight match, start there. At 7, maybe showing him a growth chart (check on the CDC.gov website) and plotting his height, weight, BMI http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi/ and show him where he fits relative to the healthiest zones (for BMI between 5-85%iles is the lowest risk).
Second, maybe there is some teasing going on at school or in the neighborhood that is giving him this inaccurate body image.
Societal and cultural pressures beyond the schoolyard and neighborhood might be at play as well. Media messages about physical appearance are everywhere and are capable of influencing kids this young. We sure don't want the heathy eating and activity message to turn into an unhealthy drive for thinness.
Lastly, could there be something more? Maybe. If you can't seem to make any headway on changing your son's concerns about himself, then maybe a check up with your doctor can be a way to see if there is something more.View Thread
I can't make a diagnosis through this medium, but it sounds like it is worth checking out. Lots of things cause rashes, some are serious and some aren't. The only way to tell is to have a doctor check it.View Thread
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