Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exercise for Kids: How Much and How to Keep It Safe

The 95210 tenants advise one hour of physical activity for everyone, but how can you tell whether the stuff your kids do counts as exercise? The Center for Disease Control has a great resource to help you determine your physical activity needs, and the safe ranges for exercise. You can get the scoop here. 

Exercise doesn't have to mean organized sports. Just being outside goofing around, playing on a playground, or taking a family walk or bike ride can be a workout! When you do head out, heed these tips from www.FitTallahassee.com to make sure you stay safe. 
Play Hard! 
  • Focus on activities that encourage large muscle group movement, like running and jumping, and building bone strength, like resistance training. A light-hearted soccer game following by climbing some ladders on the playground is a great combination!
  • Encourage kids to cross- train, or play a variety of sports. They'll lower their chances of over- use injuries and burnout, and get a more well-rounded workout. 
  • For kids that shy away from competitive games or sports, emphasize having fun and teamwork more then winning or achieving benchmarks. It's more important that a child enjoys being active than than they excel at any particular activity.
Play Safe! 
  • If you kids play organized sports, make sure their coaches are properly trained and if coaching at an advanced level, certified for the sport they are coaching. An experienced trainer will be able to detect injuries early and ensure that you children are staying safe and functional during practices, and should be certified in CPR by the American Red Cross.
  • If your child gets hurt and you suspect a muscle or tendon injury, remember "RICE": rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If discomfort doesn't subside, see your child's doctor to rule out broken bones or more serious injuries. 
  • Hydrate, hydrate hydrate! It may not be blazing hot yet, but kids still lose water when they play hard! Water and a piece of fruit is more than adequate for replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes, so skip the sports drinks and added sugar they bring. Kids should take about 10 gulps before playing and chugging some more water every 15 to 20 minutes. Afterwards, drink another glass of water and eat some fruit. 
  • Check and stick your first- aid kid. As a minimum, it should include triple antibiotic ointment, gauze, bandages, and pain medication. 
For Every Active, Growing Kid
  • Offer your kids with calcium-rich foods and drinks, such as low-fat milk and cheese, plain yogurt with fruit, and green vegetables. These foods help bones harden and strengthen, which is critical for children. Bone mass typically peaks between the ages of 16 to 25 years, and remains relatively constant before a gradual decline throughout adulthood.
  • Get a physical and become aware of any health conditions that could hurt your child's athletic performance. Discuss the sports your child plays with his or her doctor and follow their recommendations for ensuring proper nutrition and safety. 
  • Get plenty of shut-eye. Kids need between 9-11 hours of sleep each night to perform at school and in sports. Turn off lights early enough to ensure a proper night's sleep before the next day begins. 
For more children, sports and outdoor play means just being a kid. But when emergencies occur, it's worth it to have considered these safety precautions in advance. Here's to a Spring that is full of fun, smiles, and a good sweat...safely!

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