Is your child getting enough exercise? Experts at the Department of Health and Human Services recommend at least an hour of exercise a day for kids aged 6 to 17. This amount of activity will allow them to build and maintain their strength, endurance, and other physical skills and to prevent serious illnesses like heart ailments and cancer from afflicting their body. Likewise, the activity can improve their mood and overall mental health, which are invaluable in learning and development.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of American children are able to log the recommended exercise every day. According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 27.1% of high school students did so. This could be one of the top reasons why childhood obesity is prevalent in the country and why many kids struggle in school.
Are the Risks Worth It?
The solution might just be to allow kids to take risks. A study in the University of British Columbia showed that risky outdoor activities or play can bring several benefits to a child’s physical and emotional health. In an environment where they can take risks, the authors note that children thrive more as they are encouraged to lengthen play time and increase social interactions, and they widely explore their creativity and resilience.
Of course, there are drawbacks to risky horseplay. The child may be more likely to get scrapes, sprains, and other injuries from running around, jumping, or doing other activities. In the outdoors and with other kids, they can be exposed to more elements and even germs that could attack their immunity.
What You Can Do as a Parent
If your child loves risky play and outdoor activities, get the help of a pediatrician to take some precautions, such as wellness exams or sports physicals, vaccination, and proper nutrition. Also, make sure your child has access to clean drinking water – not juices and sodas – and hydrates throughout his/her activities. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently found that more than half of kids and teens in the U.S. are not getting the recommended daily fluid intake, which could spur the negative effects of dehydration.
A pediatrics clinic in Westminster, such as Indian Crest Pediatrics, can take care of minor injuries or illnesses that could prevent kids and teens from enjoying their preferred activities, or those that may arise from such activities. If their minor but bothersome conditions are resolved efficiently with the guidance or treatment of a pediatric doctor, they can more quickly resume their active lifestyle.
Kids Will Be Kids: Children Who Participate In Risky Outdoor Behavior Have Better Physical And Mental Health, Medical Daily
U.S. kids aren’t drinking enough water, CBS News