Most little kids have boundless physical energy (when it comes to activities they like, at least) and when they're young, a healthy dose of activity will come in the course of a normal day without much thought. Still, educators and public health officials have guidelines to help parents make sure their little ones are getting the exercise they need for healthy development.
Beyond physical health
We all know that exercise is important for muscle strength, lean body composition, setting kids on a lifelong trajectory of good cardiovascular health, and lowering the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
But when your kid is huffing and puffing, it's not just a benefit to her body. Physical activity has been shown to improve executive function (the ability to focus on and retain important information and filter distractions), perhaps through an increase in available blood or energy to the frontal cortex and the memory-forming hippocampus. In other words, exercise also helps your child think.
And we have reason to believe that staying active is important to your child's mood, too. On an immediate level you can see this difference in spirit - let's say, when your child starts to hit his friends after he's cooped up too long, or when he's been sluggishly devouring shows on the iPad and then brightens when he gets out of the house to play tag.
How much exercise do kids need?
You'll find plenty of benchmarks for children's physical activity out there, and most, like those from the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services, converge on the idea that male and female children and adolescents need at least one hour of exercise every day. That should be composed of activities that are:
• Aerobic (running, jumping, biking, dancing, and other pastimes that up your child's heart rate)
• Muscle-strengthening (climbing or other actions that "overload" muscles beyond their normal work)
• Bone-strengthening (jumping, running, hopscotch, and other actions that put force on the bones)
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education says that toddlers need 30 minutes of structured and 60 minutes of unstructured activity every day, and that they should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time except to sleep. For preschoolers, the recommendation is 60 minutes of structured and 60 minutes to several hours of unstructured activity, with the same parameter of being sedentary for no more than an hour. Kids ages five to 12 should get at least an hour of activity all or most days of the week.
Running out of ideas to keep your kid moving? Try these tips for staying active:
Go for the big schoolyard
If your child is in daycare or preschool (especially if it's a full day program), make sure there is plenty of indoor and outdoor space for toddling and running, and also a safe climbing structure. By the age of three, most kids need a nice wide-open yard to play tag, bike, or just run in good old-fashioned circles.
Keep the stroller for long walks
While the stroller makes life easier for parents, try to limit it to longer hikes. Help your toddler or preschooler get in the habit of walking next to you instead. Make it an "adventure walk," in which you pick up interesting treasures along the way or pretend you're exploring the neighborhood, if she needs encouragement.
The friend factor
A recent study gave us reason to think that social dynamics can have an impact on a child's level of activity; feeling ostracized or excluded may make our little ones more likely to be sedentary. Check out what's happening on the playground with your child's friends and make sure she feels comfortable and motivated to get in the game.
Television is the ultimate anti-exercise, so see if you can limit screen time by having parameters around it, such as only on the weekends or only one show per day.
Sleep and eat well
Your little one needs energy to play, so check that she's sleeping well (13-15 hours a day for a one-year-old; 12-14 hours a day for a two-year-old; and at least 11-12 hours for a preschooler) and getting plenty of healthy foods and lots of water.
- By Heather Turgeon
With rising temps come rising hemlines, bare shoulders... and eventually, bikini season. Add these metabolism boosting foods and drinks to your shopping list, and you'll score a leaner, more defined body.
By Carolyn Kylstra
Meet the ultimate wonder food. Chicken is packed with protein, which is essential for maintaining muscle mass-and the more muscle mass you have, the more efficient you are at burning calories. Even better, protein takes more time to digest than carbohydrates, so you'll feel full longer than if you ate the same number of calories in a carb-or fat-heavy meal. An ideal serving: the size of a computer mouse or a deck of cards.
Calcium consumed in tandem with an amino acid found in dairy products has been shown to burn fat. Consider it a fab excuse to add more yogurt, milk, and cheese to your meal plans. What makes Greek yogurt a standout dairy option is that it has more protein that the regular kind-so you boost the fat-burning benefits.
Research suggests that consuming two to four cups of fresh brewed green tea daily can help you burn about an extra 50 calories a day. It's teeming with catechins, nutrients linked to increased metabolism and a smaller waistline.
Scramble up two eggs for breakfast tomorrow-it's a fat-melting morning meal. Part of the reason is that eggs are loaded with protein (which will keep you feeling full for longer), but also, eating in the a.m. means you end up taking in fewer calories during the day, research shows.
You've probably heard the tip to drink water when you're hungry, in case the pangs you're feeling are actually thirst. Well, here's another reason to down the H2O: When you drink ice water, your body actually expends energy, warming the water up to your natural temperature.
Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives chili peppers their fiery kick, can also fire up your fat-burning furnace. Order more hot curries and other spicy dishes when you eat out, or just add a tablespoon of chopped chilies to your pizza or soup at home.
These nuts contain the right balance of healthy fat, protein, and fiber, and together they rev your metabolism and keep you feeling satisfied. About 50 pistachios equal one serving, so pop some in a bag and munch when you're feeling like snacking.
Sources: Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, nutritionist and author of Strong, Slim, and Thirty: Eat Right, Stay Young, Feel Great, and Look Fabulous! Stephanie Middleberg, RD, nutritionist and founder of Middleberg Nutrition
Join the Breakfast Club
People with a lifelong habit of eating early have a waistline about 2 inches smaller than that of breakfast skippers. An A.M. meal may boost metabolism; plus, it helps your body make less of an enzyme that raises cholesterol. Rise and dine-within 90 minutes of waking up.
Going too long without food (five hours or more) slows your metabolism, causing your body to burn less fat than normal. . It can also lead to blood sugar dips, cravings and hunger that make it harder to control your choices at the next meal or snack. Have a healthful snack about three hours after breakfast and another three hours after lunch.
People who cycled 6 miles a week for only six months lowered their insulin level by 19 percent, but walkers who covered the same ground saw no change. (High insulin is tied to weight gain.) Biking works more muscles, amping the fat burning metabolism, which can keep insulin in check. Pedal the pounds away!
Get Green Tea
Drinking three cups of the brew daily may spark your metabolism to burn 30 extra calories a day. Doesn’t sound like much? That’s 3 pounds off a year—diet-free! The compound ECGC in the tea makes it easier for your body to burn fat. Sip your way slim today!
Pump Some Iron
Strength training, which only about 17 percent of women do, speeds metabolism, torches calories, and sculpts muscles. It’s so effective, in fact, that you should put cardio on the back burner and make strength training 60 percent of your routine. Remember that the muscle you’re gaining weighs more than the fat you’re shedding; at first, you may not drop pounds, but you’ll be smaller and firmer—go by how your jeans fit.
Clock Your Sets
To melt fat faster while you strength train, limit the time between sets. Exercisers who waited only 35 seconds between sets decreased their body fat by 27 percent more after eight weeks. Shorter rests keep your metabolism humming along and your heart rate up, so they shave minutes off your time at the gym and help your after burn for hours once you’re back at your desk.
From the warm feeling of welcome and the scent of freshly cut flowers, to the glow of impeccably clean locker rooms, unparalleled service is always on display.
Whether you experience the class of your life in one of our group fitness studios, onsite laundry service, steam rooms, or our luxuriously appointed locker rooms with fresh towels, razors, and other amenities, know that every detail has been meticulously designed to surpass your every expectation, always with your utmost comfort and convenience in mind.
Offering the most modern cardiovascular and weight training equipment and a sparkling, heated 25 yard lap pool, City Club of Buckhead provides our member’s an escape to a calm, peaceful environment dedicated to fitness and relaxation. Inside you will find a professional and dedicated staff that provides caring and efficient service, creating a stress free atmosphere. Our personal trainers offer one-on-one personal training sessions and will help you design a customized fitness program.