You hear so much about the rising obesity levels in kids and adults in the United States that I thought I would look and see if my kids are getting enough exercise. Who am I kidding? I already knew they probably aren’t as active as they should be.
The American Heart Association recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorously intense aerobic activity EVERY day. Most other websites only said an hour of physical activity but recommended it be aerobic. They also suggested children participate in muscle-strengthening activities three times a week.
Great, I don’t even get that. I admit it – my family leads pretty sedentary lives. I know we all spend too much time in front of the computer, TV or tablet.
But even before kids or heck, even when I was a kid, I don’t recall being very active. My husband said it all depended on what year of his childhood we are asking about. But his father was a high school basketball coach, so I suspect he was more athletic than I was.
As for my own kids, we do go to the park and sometimes ride bikes, but outside play is usually quite limited. Some of this is due to Lexie’s allergies. They were quite bad when she was a toddler, and we have never really gotten use to her spending a lot of time outside. When she does, you know she will be itching later no matter how much antihistamine we give her.
We are in Texas, so in the summer it is HOT – as in high 90s and low 100s. The only time worth going outside is before 9 (maybe 10 am) or in the evening. This makes outdoor activities more of a challenge.
Both kids do participate in indoor sports. Lexie does gymnastics, and Jase has karate. But these activities are only once a week. Neither of those is exactly vigorous exercise. When they took soccer, it still wasn’t daily practice. They had one practice and a game each week.
During school time, both kids have physical education classes. Jase had them three times a week while Lexie went daily. We also walk to and from school daily (barring really bad weather). But other than that, the rest of our time was sitting down doing homework or relaxing, which probably included an electronic device. (At least it sometimes includes dancing around to a Wii game.)
Even if their downtime isn’t focused on electronics, they are playing in their rooms. While that is great for the imagination, it does little for getting them exercise. (I say this as Lexie is tumbling and jumping in the other room. So much for quiet – but hey, at least she is moving around.)
In the summer, I take them to the pool but this isn’t for serious competition-type swimming. It is for playing around. We do go places such as the zoo, the park or to a museum but really nothing strenuous in the way of exercising.
I guess I can blame most of this on my husband and me. As role models, we are falling down on our responsibility. Neither of us is very athletic and we too lead pretty sedentary lives.
I know we should restrict screen time and encourage more activity, but we don’t. The only good thing is that neither child is overweight. According to their doctors, their weight and BMIs are in the healthy range for their ages.
But I know they need more exercise so for the rest of the summer I think I will make sure they get out and do at least a little something every day. That is at least a start in the right direction.