How to Make Sure Your Kids Get the Exercise They Need

Did you know that only one in three children are physically active every day? Making matters worse, nearly one-third of high school students play video or computer games for an average of three or more hours on an average school day. Three or more hours!

Yet study after study has shown that kids need, at minimum, a full hour of physical activity each and every day. And it’s no guarantee that they’re getting it at school either, as only six states require physical education in every grade (K–12).

So, as parents, it’s important for us to not only limit screen time, but to encourage regular exercise for our little ones. Sixty minutes every day might seem like a lot, but with a few small adjustments, it’s actually pretty easy!

First things first, there are three basic types of activity, all of which should be done each week:

  • Aerobic: running, biking, dancing, swimming
  • Strength: for younger kids, playing on a playground (hanging, pull-ups, etc.); for older kids, gymnastics, weightlifting, rock climbing
  • Bone-strengthening: weight-bearing activities like jumping rope, sports, running, playing tag

Be Active with your kids!

  • Visit the park - My kids and I like to walk – not drive – to the park a couple times a week and play around with things other than my cell phone.
  • Involve them in sports - Whether organized or at-home, activities like gymnastics, soccer and swimming can be enjoyed at a young age – and they’ll have loads of fun doing it. 
  • Enjoy nature - Head to the wilderness a couple times a month for a hike, or take them camping, fishing or snowshoeing. All are great ways to stay active – without even really knowing it.

And last but not least, you can always take a brain break with our good friend Rowdy. Whether it’s The Dairy Shuffle, The Milkshake or The Freestyle Fridge, your kids will love these dairy-themed singalongs – and get some much-needed exercise in the process.

By Lana Frantzen, Ph.D.

Lana has been part of the Dairy MAX team for over 18 years. She has a Ph.D. in nutrition and is a Dairy MAX and National Dairy Council spokesperson. When she's not working, Lana enjoys hot yoga and spending time with her two sons. Learn more about Lana

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