SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Pre-COVID, being parked in front of the computer used to be an option and a form of recreation but, during current times, children spend hours in front of a computer because they have to.
Distance learning has its share of challenges, such as online discipline and the constant distractions.
KRON4’s health expert, Karen Owoc, is here to help your children succeed and improve their grades.
Distance learning is only as effective as the student. The most difficult part about remote learning is the high chances of distraction.
With no face-to-face interactions with instructors and other students, it can be difficult to stay on track and complete coursework.
Per an ACSM* study, children are better able to concentrate, and even exhibit fewer behavioral problems, when they participate in higher intensity exercise.
The study found that kids that engage in vigorous activity for 20 minutes, at least 3 days a week, did better in school than kids that participated in moderate activity for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Pre-COVID, vigorous exercise opportunities were available at school and in the community, which included vigorous physical activities, such as:
• Ice skating
• Beach volleyball
• Singles tennis
After-school or competitive club sports have been an option to make up for the lack of physical education and activity provided as part of the school curriculum, but may now be closed or discontinued.
Other options: vigorous exercise that involves non-competitive activities (e.g., biking, swimming, jogging, dancing, running with the family pet).
*ACSM = American College of Sports Medicine
More Toys = More Active
To find effective ways to increase your child’s exercise time, look at toy variety.
Toy variety can be the key increase motivation to exercise.
A University of Buffalo study observed the effects of toy quantities and found that children, ages 8-12, were more active when they had more toys (3-5 toys versus just one).
Girls were especially motivated by having a greater choice of active toys to play with compared to boys. Active play increased 200% for girls and increased 42% for boys.
“Exergames” (e.g., Wii) provide an opportunity to increase physical activity.
There’s compelling evidence that children can benefit from strength training using their own body weight.
Increasing strength doesn’t have to involve weights. Bodyweight training is a way to build strength without the need for equipment. Gymnasts are some of the strongest athletes because they lift, pull, push, and flip their own bodies.
Strength training is a muscle and bone strengthening activity and can be vigorous if the workout cycles through several exercises (usually 5 to 10) with minimal rest in between = Circuit Training.
Circuit training taxes muscular strength, endurance, AND the cardiorespiratory system.
Activity can become a lifelong habit just as much as inactivity can become a lifelong habit.
School-age children need to participate in 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Exercise should be appropriate for their age and level of development as well as enjoyable and safe.
Children should spend no more than two hours per day doing sedentary non-academic activities, such as watching television and playing video or computer games.
For a healthy body mass index, the minimum recommended daily steps for 6-12 year-old children are 12,000-15,000 steps/day (about 7.5 miles) which is considered ‘highly active’.
• 10,000 steps (about 5 miles) is considered ‘active’
• Less than 5,000 steps a day is considered ‘sedentary’ (about 2.5 miles)
Pedometers are a fun way for kids to monitor their activity levels and motivate them to get in more exercise, especially if they are trying to lose weight.
Healthy Fuel for the Body and Brain
Kids need good fuel to be active.
Nutrition plays a key role in being able to engage in exercise, particularly
Kids need healthy food to have the energy to be physically active. Good fuel:
• Enhances the ability to concentrate
• Maximizes adaptations to training
• Enhances post-exercise recovery
• Prevents illness and injury
When kids feel good, they’ll perform well, and they’ll have more fun!