The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) recently released new physical activity guidelines for kids, and it got me thinking…..
You can find the guidelines here, but I’ll give you a quick summary:
- Toddlers (1-2yrs) and Preschoolers (3-4yrs): 180 minutes (3 hours) of physical activity per day
- Kids (5-11yrs) and Teens (12-17yrs): 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity per day
- Adults (18-64yrs) and Seniors (65+yrs): 150 minutes (2.5 hrs) of physical activity per week
I’m happy to say that our family meets these minimum guidelines, but I would bet that many don’t. In our fast-paced society of long commutes, office jobs, daycare, school, and ‘screen-time’, many people go from one chair to another all day long. But the people I worry about are our kids. Inactivity as a child leads to inactivity as an adult; and this can lead to a whole host of other health problems including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression to name a few.
What if we taught our kids to see physical activity as a lifestyle rather than a checkmark on a to-do list? This was the case for myself as a kid- my childhood memories involve being outside, running around, and doing family activities- so I find it hard to understand physical activity being viewed as a chore. It’s always been part of my lifestyle and I can’t imagine life without being active every day. I hope that by going to the gym several times a week, taking my kids to local races, going for bikerides, or spending a Saturday morning hiking in the trails, that I am teaching them that life = activity. I hope they don’t have to fight a battle with themselves as adults to get off the couch and get moving. I hope they get moving because that’s what they’ve always done. I hope that movement is their ‘normal’.
I think we can make our kids happier, healthier, and more well-rounded through physical activity. And I think we can start today.
Here’s my 3-year-old running in a 1km Kid’s race with his Dad. Can you see the pride in his little face?