What Level Of Physical Activity Should Your Child Do?

A study by the World Economic Forum reveals that although schools have reopened and confinement restrictions have been reduced, the levels of physical activity of girls and boys are still lower than they were before the pandemic .

kids riding bikes

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LatinAmerican Post | Daniel Vergara

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Leer en español: ¿Cuál es el nivel de actividad física que debe hacer tu hijo?

The study was carried out between the months of May and December of the year 2021 in the city of Bristol, in the southwest of England. It had the participation of about 390 girls and boys who used an accelerometer on their hips to calculate the time of physical activity in the day. The results were compared with the information collected from another study carried out in 2018. In the same way, data was collected together with their parents on the sedentary time of each boy and girl.

“We found that although most COVID restrictions had been lifted when we collected our data, children were less active compared to children of a similar age before the pandemic. On average, children engaged in about eight fewer minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day in 2021 compared to before the pandemic, a drop of 13%,” the study states. Exercises for children are a fundamental part of their healthy growth .

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It also states that this type of research has not only taken place in the United Kingdom. In various parts of the world, the levels of physical activity of children, usually between moderate and vigorous, have decreased percentage-wise, something that generates concern for medical and government authorities.

According to an article in the journal CES Medicine: "lack of physical activity has been related to negative changes in cardiovascular health, such as cardiac dysfunction and atrophy, increased arterial stiffness, endothelial dysfunction, decreased maximum oxygen consumption, increased heart rate, lower muscle capacity in terms of motor control, an exponential increase in injuries and the presence of obesity. However, it is reassuring that the levels of physical activity have decreased in a small percentage, in the study it is concluded that there is a great possibility that the average will recover again with the passage of time, however a call is made to continue investigating since it is still too early to see some of the effects that the pandemic and confinement have generated on various population groups, as in this case that of girls and boys.

Some recommendations to guide the physical activity of your children

According to the organization Healthy Children, if your kids haven't been physically active during the pandemic and want to pick up or start playing a sport, a beginner fitness program should be considered for the first few months before the training season begins. “ Physical reconditioning can help prevent injuries that sudden and intense activity can cause in growing children,” states an article from the organization. It can also reduce the risk of disease in children affected by obesity during the pandemic

Below you will find a list that the WHO has created with some recommendations to start again in physical activity and exercises for children.

For Babies under 1 year

• All babies should exercise several times a day. In the case of babies who are not yet able to move on their own, this means lying on their stomachs for at least 30 minutes (spread throughout the day, and always while they are awake).

Children under 5 years

• All young children should be physically active at any level of intensity for at least 180 minutes a day. Children ages 3 to 4 should spend at least 60 minutes of that time in moderate- or high-intensity activities.

Children and adolescents from 5 to 17 years old

• All children and adolescents should engage in moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity for a minimum of 60 minutes daily. At least 3 days per week, this should include activities that strengthen muscles and bones, the use of weights or exercises that involve sudden changes in efforts and cardiopulmonary capacity such as crossfit are not recommended.