Exercise for Children - Factual Reasons and Tips To Get Moving
4 Ways to Get Your Child Moving (and Prevent Type 2 Diabetes)
Limit Screen Time
Reduce sedentary activity, and encourage your children to participate in physical play by limiting their amount of screen time, whether that's TV, a tablet, the computer, or playing video games. Set some rules around these activities; for example, for every hour of screen time, there should be an hour of active play. Or use screen time as a reward after homework, exercise, and chores are done.
Make it Fun
Schedule family play time. Low-pressure recreational activities can be a great way to deal with the stress and emotional toll of being a teen. And do something fun, like go bowling or just head to a museum or mall to walk around.
Get Your Heart Pumping
All of us — adults and kids alike — should do something every day that gets our hearts pumping. Take a walk, try rollerblading, or go for a hike or swim. Children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of exercise per day.
Hit the Weights
Building muscle can help your body utilize insulin more readily — you don’t even need the gym or free weights. Body weight exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and crunches, are all good choices.
If your child has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, consider these eight rules for exercising safely:
- Always check with your diabetes care team to make sure that exercise is safe for your child.
- Work in a 5-minute warm-up before exercise to get the blood flowing and prevent injury.
- Make sure your child stretches after exercise to keep muscles flexible.
- Check your child's feet, and make sure shoes fit well so blisters and sores don’t develop.
- Pack a water bottle and encourage your child to stay well-hydrated. Aim for 6 to 8 glass of water each day.
- Before engaging in activity, do a blood sugar check to make sure levels are in a healthy range.
- Bring a blood sugar meter and a 15-gram carbohydrate snack with you just in case blood glucose levels get low.
- Work with your child to recognize the signs of low and high blood sugar.
Jennifer Bayliss is a fitness expert and coach at Everyday Health. She is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and an AFAA certified personal trainer. She has a BS and MS in exercise science.
This article was reviewed by Maureen Namkoong, RD.
Video: Tips for moving with children
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