Movement is Medicine

Physical activity is important for children and youth to stay healthy and moving. Kids don’t usually realize the importance of physical activity because they’re either having too much fun being active, or playing video games on the couch… But one thing is for sure; being active is beneficial for your body!

Being a sport parent isn’t always easy, but encouraging your kids and teens to be active from a young age sets good habits early on and it will help them develop the skills they need to stay active as they age! Athletes also have an advantage since they are introduced to physical activity at a young age, which may fit in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines states children aged 5-11 years old and 12-17 years old should accumulate at least 60-mins of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.

This should include:

  • Vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week
  • Activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days per week
  • More daily physical activity provides greater health benefits

Moderate-intensity physical activities will cause children and teens to sweat a little and to breathe harder. Activities include bike riding, playground activities, and skating.

Vigorous-intensity physical activities will cause children to sweat and be “out of breath”. Activities include running, swimming, rollerblading, and playing sports.

Being active for at least 60 minutes daily can help children and teens by:

  • Improving their health
  • Doing better in school
  • Improving their fitness
  • Becoming stronger
  • Having fun playing with friends
  • Feeling happier
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Improving their self-confidence
  • Learning new skills

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Sedentary behaviour is when children are doing very little physical movement. Examples include sitting for long periods, using motorized transportation, watching television, playing passive video games, or playing on the computer. Children who don’t get enough physical activity are at a greater risk for obesity, which will make it more difficult to be active as they age. There are many ways to prevent your child from being sedentary and getting them to be more active! Help your child become more active by being a good role model, having a positive attitude when it comes to being active, making time to be active as a family, and ensuring they are hydrated and fuelled with healthy foods!

By preventing sedentary behaviour and becoming more physically active, children and youth will benefit from:

  • Healthy growth and development
  • Building strong bones and muscles
  • Improving balance and development skills
  • Developing and maintaining flexibility
  • An improvement in cardiovascular fitness
  • Stress reduction
  • Posture improvement
  • A boost in confidence and self-esteem
  • Making new friends

Help your kids be physically active by being a good role model and educate them on the importance of movement!

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Nikki de Ocampo is the Domestic Development Intern at Canada Basketball. She is currently pursuing her Health Sciences Degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion at Sheridan College, and has a passion for holistic health and wellness.

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