June 2021 Newsletter.
Part II: Children.
Source: Exercise is Medicine® Canada, exerciseismedicine.org/canada
Canadian kids spend an average of 7.5 hours in front of screens each day*!
That’s right, 7.5 hours. Sounds outrageous, right? If you agree, you are not alone. In fact, the response to this statistic is often disbelief. People repeatedly wonder how it is even possible that a child could spend that much time in front of TVs, cell phones, tablets or video games every single day. However, according to the latest research, it is possible and this is becoming the ‘new norm’ in today’s society. A society where kids as young as 10 years old have a smartphone, where the TV is used as a form of babysitting, and where the tablet has replaced an actual, real-life book.
*Source: 2009-11 CHMS, Statistics Canada. Read more in the Active Healthy Kids Canada 2013 Report Card (pages 32 – 36).
When kids are active, their bodies can do the things they want and need them to do. Why? Because regular exercise provides these benefits: strong muscles and bones, weight control, decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, better sleep and a better outlook on life among others. Healthy, physically active kids also are more likely to be academically motivated, alert, and successful. And physical competence builds self-esteem at every age.
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (from Exercise is Medicine Canada):
Early years : 0 – 4 years
Infants (aged less than 1 year) should be physically active several times daily – particularly through interactive floor-based play.
Toddlers (aged (1-2 years) and preschoolers (aged 3-4 years) should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day, including :
1. A variety of activities in different environments;
2. Activities that develop movement skills;
2. Progression toward at least 60 minutes of energetic play by 5 years of age.
Children aged 5 – 11 years and youth aged 12 – 17 years
For health benefits, children aged 5 – 11 years as well as youth aged 12 – 17 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. This should include:
1. Vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week.
2. Activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days per week.
What about intensity?
Moderate-intensity exercise will cause children to sweat a little and breathe harder. It is possible for a kid to have a conversation in short sentences. On a scale relative to an individual’s personal capacity, moderate-intensity physical activity is usually 5 or 6 on a scale of 10. Examples are bike riding, playground activities and skating.
Vigorous-intensity exercise will cause children to sweat and be « out of breath ». A kid can hardly have a conversation. On a scale relative to an individual’s personal capacity, moderate-intensity physical activity is usually 7 or 8 on a scale of 10. Examples are jogging, swimming laps, cross-country skiing and hiking on hills.
For more information, visit these internet sites: Exercise is Medicine® Canada, exerciseismedicine.org/Canada, Participaction and http://kidshealth.org.