A daily exercise program can provide a way to share an activity with family and friends and help create good heart-healthy habits. For children over the age of 6, the following exercise guidelines can help you and your child plan activities:
|Type of activity ||Days /|
|Light||Every day||30 mins. / |
|Pleasure walking, climbing stairs, dancing, home exercise|
|Light to moderate||Four to six days / week||30 mins. / |
|Jogging, playing baseball, shooting basketball, throwing a football, kicking a soccer ball, playing on the playground|
|Strenuous, aerobic||Three times / week||30 mins. / |
|Running, swimming, cycling, roller skating, jumping rope, dancing, hiking, soccer, tag games, gymnastics|
More vigorous aerobic activities are best for improving the fitness of the heart and lungs. Aerobic activities are continuous activities that cause the heart rate to increase and cause the breathing rate to increase. Regular aerobic physical activity increases a child's capacity for exercise and plays a role in prevention of heart diseases. Aerobic exercise may also help to lower blood pressure.
Exercise on a regular basis is part of a healthy lifestyle. However, some children can exercise too much. If your child begins losing weight and falls below his/her normal growth patterns, or if exercise interferes with other normal activities and school, talk with your child's physician.
For children and teens, daily exercise may help prevent conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, and poor lifestyle habits that may lead to heart conditions later in life. Research shows that children who grow up with healthy exercise habits are more likely to continue those habits as adults.