In today's society, sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits have become increasingly prevalent among children and teenagers, leading to alarming rates of childhood obesity and related health issues. As a university committed to promoting health and wellness, we recognize the importance of youth fitness and the role it plays in shaping the physical and mental health of our younger generation.
Through this blog, we aim to provide valuable insights, tips, and resources to parents, educators, and youth fitness trainers to help children and teens stay active, healthy, and happy. Whether you're a seasoned fitness professional or a concerned parent, we hope that the information and resources we share in this blog will help you promote fitness and well-being in the lives of young people.
In recent years, concern has grown about the sedentary lifestyles of children and teenagers, as well as the rise in childhood obesity rates. It's important to ask the question: are children and teenagers getting enough exercise to maintain their health? According to the World Health Organization, children and teenagers aged 5-17 should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day. However, studies suggest that many young people are not meeting this recommendation. One study found that only 21% of American children and adolescents aged 6-19 met the recommended levels of physical activity. Another study found that physical activity levels decline sharply during adolescence, with fewer than 10% of 15-year-olds in some countries meeting the daily recommendation.
As fitness professionals, we play a critical role in promoting physical activity and healthy habits for young people. "Children who engage in regular physical activity are more likely to have higher academic achievement, better school attendance, and improved cognitive function." - Dr. Anthony D. Okely, et al., The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. Research has shown that physical activity can have a positive impact on many aspects of children's health, including their mental health, academic performance, and overall well-being. By encouraging young people to participate in a variety of activities that they enjoy, we can help them develop lifelong habits of physical activity.
"Physical activity is a key factor in the prevention and management of childhood obesity."
- American Academy of Pediatrics
How can we help?
You may be wondering how to help children and teenagers get more exercise. Getting young people to start moving more can be a challenge but here are some ways to get started.
Make it fun
Children and teens are more likely to enjoy physical activity if it's fun and engaging. Try to find activities that they enjoy and encourage them to participate in a variety of sports and games. Consider signing them up for classes or programs that focus on activities they are interested in, such as dance, martial arts, or swimming.
Set a good example
Parents and youth fitness trainers should lead by example and participate in physical activity themselves. This can include going for a walk or bike ride together, playing a game of catch, or doing a family workout. When children see adults making physical activity a priority, they are more likely to follow suit.
Limit screen time
Excessive screen time is a major contributor to sedentary behavior in children and teens. Encourage them to take breaks from screens and engage in a physical activity instead. Consider setting limits on screen time or implementing a "screen-free" day once a week.
Make physical activity a part of daily routines
Incorporating physical activity into daily routines can make it easier to get enough exercise. Encourage children to walk or bike to school, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do some simple exercises while watching TV.
Encourage outdoor play
Outdoor play provides children with an opportunity to get fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. Encourage children to play outside as much as possible, whether it's by playing on a playground, riding bikes, or exploring nature.
“Physical activity has significant health benefits for hearts, bodies, and minds.”
-World Health OrganizationBasic Guidelines for Training Children and teens
The International Sports Science Association (ISSA) & Lionel University offer guidelines on physical fitness training for children and teens. The guidelines are based on the latest research and recommendations from leading health organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and include:
- Warm-ups and stretching should be performed before resistance training
- Begin with light loads to allow for appropriate adjustments to be made. Increase loads gradually as strength improves.
- Workouts should not occur in succession. Allow for one to two full days between workouts.
- Multiple joint exercises can be used, but the focus should be on form and technique rather than weight lifted.
- Encourage kids to take breaks and drink plenty of water before during and after exercise.
- Finally, keep it fun. We’re all more likely to stick with something we have fun doing.
Promoting youth fitness is crucial to ensuring the health and well-being of our younger generation. Lionel University is dedicated to promoting health and wellness and we hope that the insights and resources shared in this blog have been helpful in inspiring parents, educators, and youth fitness trainers to encourage physical activity among children and teens. By making fitness fun, setting a good example, and incorporating physical activity into daily routines, we can help young people develop healthy habits that will benefit them for years to come.
When you get a degree in exercise science from Lionel University, you learn how to design any type of fitness program, including youth-specific programs. Further, the doors to fitness job opportunities are wide open. Regardless of whether you’re pursuing a master trainer certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree, specialists in exercise science are in demand. And, with the help of financial aid, earning your exercise science degree is even more of a possibility.
Check out our programs and contact Lionel today!
Let's work together to create a healthier future for our children and teens!