DOES SCREEN TIME REPLACE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN YOUR HOME?
Studies show a high percentage of adolescents are not getting enough exercise because screen time is replacing physical activity. It is recommended that children get at least one hour of moderate physical activity each day.
The 11 to 17 age group tends to be more sedentary with activities being more screen-based rather than being active outdoors or participating in sports. A gender gap was also identified showing that girls were less active that boys.
”Screens, tablets and phones have become a part of everyday life."Dr. Juana WillumsenWorld Health Organization
Some Reasons Why Our Kids are Falling Into This Lifestyle
- Demands at school that take up their time
- Some kids may feel they aren’t good at sports
- Role models are living a sedentary lifestyle
- Busy working families
Even if the above is true for your kids, you can still teach them the importance of staying physical. Making small changes can set healthy patterns that can last into adulthood.
Three Elements of Fitness
Endurance | Strength | Flexibility
Your Child Benefits From Being Active
Notice the three elements of fitness watching your kids play. When they’re in a game of “tag” and they’re running from who’s “it” (endurance). Hand over hand on the monkey bars (strength). Just simply bending over to tie their shoes (flexibility). It doesn’t have to be complicated – encourage a variety of activities when they’re young to build their abilities.
Regular exercise can provide the following benefits for our kids:
- Strong bones and muscles
- A healthy weight
- Lower risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
- Better sleep and better attitude
Age-Based Suggestions for Increasing Physical Activity
Preschoolers – Throwing or kicking a ball, playing tag or even riding a bike with training wheels are important to develop important motor skills. You’ll find some programs open to kids as young as four – hold off on organized sports until they’re a bit older. Preschoolers may not have the attention span needed to understand rules of team sports, but they can get experience with the fundamental skills.
School-Age – This is when schedules start getting busy and time in front of screens can become habit forming. Parents can lead the way by introducing their child to organized sports like baseball, volleyball, basketball, or soccer. As children get older, ability and personality start to stand out. Their commitment and motivation can relate to that ability so it’s important to choose an activity that’s right for them.
No matter the age, when kids are active they are more likely to stay focused, be motivated and have a better life experience. Physical activities can help to build confidence at any age.
THE BOTTOM LINE
By introducing our children to the value of physical fitness, it can make a huge difference in their lives – not only during their childhood years but creating habits and interest that carries into adulthood.