Children and Fitness

j0318810The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

Making fitness a priority in your life is not just for adults but should include children and youths as well. Before I continue take a close look at the following information from a recent survey.

1) 60 percent of children do not meet average fitness standards.

2) Children today expend four times less energy than children 40 years ago.

3) Approximately 40 percent of children already have at least one risk factor for heart disease and that is because of reduced fitness due to an inactive lifestyle.

4) In Grade two, one out of four children cannot touch their toes.

5) 76 percent of elementary school girls and 26 percent of boys cannot do one chin up.

6) Half of all teenage boys and three-quarters of all teenage girls cannot walk up and down stairs for longer than six minutes, without straining their cardiovascular system.

7) Twelve year old children drink an average of two and half cans of pop a day and eat on average one out of three meals per day away from the family home.

8) The North American diet today contains 31 percent more fats and 43 percent less complex carbohydrates than it did in 1900.

9) Children do 75 percent less exercise today compared with children 100 years ago.

10) An Obese preschooler has a 25 percent chance of becoming an obese adult, and an obese teenager has a 75 percent chance of remaining obese for life.

11) Between 1960 and 1980 obesity rates in North American children six to eleven years old increased 54 percent, and Super Obesity rates rose 98 per cent.

12) Only 25% of North American School high school students participate in Physical education classes.

The level of activity for children doesn’t even come close to meeting the bare minimum necessary for Good Health. Their gym classes (if they do have them) are at best 30 minutes twice a week. They spend the rest of their time sitting in class, watching television, playing with computers, video and board games or simply reading. They get bussed to school and driven to and from their friends houses.

A child should be active for at least one hour per day. This means doing some sort of physical activity, walking, running, skipping, dancing, swimming, skating, or playing an active sport.

A recent autopsy survey on more then 1,500 young people who died of accidents, revealed that half of the 15 to 19 year olds had already developed lesions in their arteries. These lesions indicate an early sign of heart disease.

In the early 1980’s, while adults got hooked on the fitness craze, children’s fitness actually started to decline. In fact muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility of children between the ages of ten and fourteen dropped by up to 25 percent. You should also note that no matter how much milk your child drinks, the Calcium (which is necessary for growing bones) will not get into those growing bones without regular weight bearing activity. (walking . . . skipping . . . running).

I’ve mentioned that overweight children have a 40 to 90 percent chance of becoming an overweight adult. Also 20 percent of today’s children and teens who are overweight, are overweight enough that it will threaten their future health.

Most kids also really don’t care and know much about nutrition and will often choose drinks, snacks and breakfast cereals that are high in sugar.

There is also a link between physical activity and sleep. On average a teenager needs nine to ten hours of sleep per night. The average teen gets less then seven hours of sleep per night. The inactive teen, who sleeps poorly, usually will experience daytime sleepiness that can result in impaired learning and problems concentrating. It’s a fact that a child who is physically active throughout the day, will sleep better at night.

On Average children two to seventeen years old, watch between 17 and 19 hours of television a week, and that is not including the time playing video games on the computer or surfing the web. This excessive television watching has some very serious effects on their bodies. In fact television viewing has been proven to slow your metabolism. While watching television, your metabolism is 24 percent lower than if you were just sitting and staring into space.

Physical activity is also not a priority at school. Students may if they’re lucky get a gym class once or twice a week, and the duration, intensity and qualifications of the instructors will vary. An interesting survey was just completed recently involving children in grades one to six. One group had 40 minutes of gym class a week and was taught by their home room teacher. The second group received one hour of gym class per day and was taught by a phys-ed specialist. The results are interesting. The kids who received less academic instruction and more phys-ed, got slightly higher academic scores. A similar study was done in France with the same results. The French study also suggested that phys-ed can be increased to almost one-third of the school day without a decline in academic performance.

So what can you do as a parent to help your children? Well you can first of all encourage your children to be active outside of school, so they’ll see physical activity as part of their daily life. You don’t have to worry about them having to obtain their target heart rate, it’s more beneficial right now for them to just participate in a variety of physical activity. Teenagers can also gain strength from weight training exercises, but until they go through puberty they probably won’t gain very much muscle mass.

In the beginning of weight training, you should remember that adolescent bodies are not completely structurally mature and they should not lift weights greater than 40% of their body weight for at least a year of weight training. If getting up in the morning after a workout is a chore then the workout the day before was probably too intense and their workout should be modified. Basically a program designed for adults should not be used for children. They need to be designed to fit the individual child’s physical abilities and needs.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !