When Does My Child Need to Start Exercising?

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When Does My Child Need to Start Exercising?

While exercise is an important part of a balanced, healthy life for adults, it isn’t so cut and dry when it comes to children. While kids need to be more active and need to spend less time sitting in front of a screen, there are many parents who have questions about exercise, more specifically, when their child should start actually exercising. This has become an increasingly prevalent question surrounding youth sports as well.

From the moment kids are able to get up and start moving, they should be staying active, but that doesn’t mean that they need to start a strenuous exercise program. Little kids should be active to help develop their motor skills, coordination and muscles. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children start getting one hour of moderate aerobic exercise starting at age 6.

Here is a guide to exercise for kids that can help you keep your little ones healthy and active at the appropriate age.

Children Ages 3 to 5

Kids between the ages three to five should try to be active throughout the day to promote good bone health and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise is also a great way for kids to burn off excess energy that may lead to misbehavior. Preschool age children can participate in sports like tumbling, soccer or t-ball. Swimming is also another great form of exercise for kids this age.

Children Ages 6 to 8

This is the age when many kids can start really getting into sports a little more. This is the age, where kids can start to develop some of the fine motor skills to really kick a soccer ball or pitch a baseball. This is also a great time for kids to start sports like gymnastics or get more involved with swimming or tennis.

If kids don’t necessarily like structured sports, this is a great age to start riding bikes. Be careful for overuse injuries at this age. While kids may love sports and parents may love getting their children really involved in sports at this time, it is important to not overdo it.

Children Ages 9 to 11

This is when kids start to really develop hand-eye coordination and sports may be a bit easier. This is also a time where parents can start encouraging more healthy competition. During this time, if your child is interested in distance running or sports like kid-friendly triathlons, you can start encouraging this type of exercise during this time. However, with strenuous activities like this, make certain your child is staying super hydrated.

Children Ages 12 to 14

If your child is no longer as interested in organized sports or gym class, this may be a time when you can start looking into gym workouts. Kids can start strength or muscle building at this time, but keep weights light and focus more on body weight workouts or those with resistance bands.

At this age, kids should never try the “one rep max” in the weight room.

Children Age 15 and Older

At this age, most kids have gone through puberty and can really get into sports, marathons, triathlons and weight training. While your children may be able to physically work out in a similar way that adults can, it doesn’t mean that they can just go all out without help. Make sure that kids are practicing proper form, especially when weight lifting, as it can help prevent injury.

We recommend that parents enroll kids in a weight-training class or a session with a trainer first so they can learn proper form.

If you have more questions about keeping your child healthy and active, contact the experts here at Continuum Pediatrics. Our doctors can help you create a healthy lifestyle for your child and make sure that they are exercising in a safe and healthy way. You can make an appointment by calling us directly at 817-617-8600 today.