Pediatricians share advice on implementing exercise in your child’s schedule

Pediatricians encourage parents to make exercising fun for their children
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 5:18 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Children need between one to three hours of exercise each day, depending on their age and ability to take part in physical activity.

”Only about one in three children have enough activity for it to be counted as antiquate,” said Dr. Angie Blaxton, Pediatrician at Southeastern Pediatric. “We recommend that for younger children that they have at least three hours of exercise per day and most children do not get anywhere near that.”

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, it is easy for kids to sit at home and glued to their electronics.

“Activity has actually gone down; they have way more time they could be active but instead they are spending that time with electronic devices rather than being outside which is kind of heartbreaking,” Dr. Blaxton said.

Pediatricians recommend children and teens to have no more than one to two hours of screen time a day that is not related school.

“I would limit their activity online and with their electronic devices as much as possible, make them earn that time, that you have to meet that hour a day before you can earn your electronic time,” Dr. Blaxton said.

Dr. Jacob Edwards with Dothan Pediatric encourages parents to set an example for their child.

“Exercise is great for us all,” Dr. Edwards said. “Kids respond to exercise just like we do. It increases their mood, it improves their stamina, it also increases brain function so research shows that the more activity kids get the better their brain functions, the more less likely they are to have tantrums or the more less likely it would be irritable.”

With some parks in the Wiregrass still being closed due to COVID-19, it can be a challenge for children to get the appropriate amount of exercise needed. Pediatricians share how parents can get creative during this time. Dr. Edwards said parents should be intentional and set goals for their child when it comes to exercise.

“You got to go back to your childhood,” Dr. Edwards said. “So things you can do like Simon Says, pick out some activities, they can do some jumping jacks during the Simon Says, they can do sit ups during it. Sometimes when you’re watching T.V. at home you make a game out of a commercials, so every commercial you can sit down and you can make a competition out of it, so you’re doing push ups during the commercials, you’re doing bicycle kicks, you’re doing air squats, things like that. See who can do the most by the end of the T.V. show.”

Parents can make exercising fun for their child.

“Go outside, make an obstacle course in the backyard, or maybe in the living room but the most important thing is to make it fun and make sure kids are engaged in it,” Dr. Edwards said.

A child’s health can have a negative impact if they are not getting enough exercise each day. Issues such as having a hard time sleeping, mental health and even obesity can form.

“It obviously can cause children to have problems with their cardiovascular system and their lungs and their bones and their muscles when they are not getting activity. So basically everything about your body can be affected when you’re not getting enough activity. We are seeing a huge problem about one in every three children are overweight, so we are seeing a huge problem with obesity because we are so much more sedentary than we used to be.”>

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