It is no surprise to find the American Heart Association promoting the importance of exercise for our younger generation. While it might seem obvious, we can minimize or overlook the absolute importance. And it never hurts to break down the information.
Sedentary lifestyles create apathetic systems, we are made for movement. Lack of physical activity is a major risk for stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, low levels of the good cholesterol (HDL,) diabetes and of course contributes to the development of coronary artery disease.
Every day should include thirty to sixty minutes of medium to high level of physical activity. The kind of movement that gets your heart pumping is what we are talking about here. Not only does the cardiovascular exercise keep the body systems functioning effectively, strengthening the walls of blood vessels and cells, helping with elimination of toxin and all the rest, it also produces psychological and social benefits.
Physical exercise is a win-win for all.
But why focus on children specifically? One reason is to address the reality of the society in which we live. Neighborhoods are not like they used to be where all felt safe to let their kids run rampant across streets and play blocks away. And computers now captivate the young eager minds with the global surfing and endless games.
Getting physical activity used to be like breathing for children, it just happened. Now we need to choose it for the sake of their health and the health of the adult they are going to be one day. Inactive kids will likely continue the same pattern as adults.
The AHA recommends sixty minutes per day of varied exercise but if this is too difficult to fit into the schedule their secondary option is to provide two 30 minute intervals or even four 15 minute sessions. Your local gym can be a great resource here. Many, such as Club USA in Littleton, offer focused programs just for our budding generation.
And remember, many activities can be done as a family, offering yet another benefit of fitness!