Posts Tagged ‘ physical activity ’

Why Your Child’s Friends Can Help Them Exercise More

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Kids playing outsideThere’s no denying that children are heavily influenced by their friends—but as it turns out, not all peer pressure is negative. In fact, friends can influence each other positively, especially when it relates to mimicking a friend’s physical activity.

New research concludes that friends can influence a child to exercise. The study, which has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, asked 104 children and teens to list 10 potential benefits and 15 potential barriers to being physically active. The top reasons kids listed as impeding their activity included: feeling self-conscious, poor health, lack of enjoyment, and lack of self-discipline and energy.

“Children and teens who did physical activities with a friend were far less likely to cite barriers for not exercising, while family participation or encouragement did not have this effect,” reports Health Day.

Of the participants with the highest level of activity, 76 percent reported being physically active with their friends.

“Having physically active friends may make it easier for obese children to get involved with activities and lower the perceived barriers for doing so, while having a physically-active family may not be as inspiring,” says Jessica Graus Woo, the study’s author and an associate professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.

Though parents may focus on giving encouragement and setting a good example as ways to help a child exercise and be mindful of weight issues, this research shows that your child’s social circle is an important influence.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Best Toys That Get Kids Moving
Best Toys That Get Kids Moving
Best Toys That Get Kids Moving

Image: Friends playing outside via Shutterstock

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4 Minutes of THIS Can Help Your Kid Focus in the Classroom

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Physical Activity Improves Classroom Behavior

It takes just four minutes of physical activity to help a child focus for at least 50 minutes of classroom learning time, according to a recent study from Queen’s University in Canada.

In Ontario, where the study took place, elementary schools are required to have twenty minutes of daily physical activity (DPA), so the researchers said they wanted to determine the best way to use that time.

“Given the time crunch associated with the current school curriculum we thought that very brief physical activity breaks might be an interesting way to approach DPA,” Dr. Brendon Gurd, lead researcher and professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University told PsychCentral. ”We were particularly interested in what effects a brief exercise bout might have in the classroom setting.”

Researchers evaluated small groups of second and fourth graders in their classrooms, giving them either 10-minute breaks with no activity in between or 4-minute “FUNtervals” within their 10-minute breaks that consisted of “a high-intensity interval protocol.”

Activities included lunges, squats, and jumps as part of a fun “task” like imagining making s’mores, PsychCentral reports, with “a 20-second storyline of quick, enthusiastic movements followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight intervals.” None of the activities required extra equipment; all took place inside the classroom.

The study found that fidgeting, drawing, and restlessness decreased significantly after the activity.

Check out these easy and fun ways to get your kids to exercise here.

We Need More Physical Education in Schools
We Need More Physical Education in Schools
We Need More Physical Education in Schools

Photo of kids at recess courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Moms: Your Fitness Level Will Impact Your Kids’

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Moms who lead active lifestyles and get regular physical exercise tend to have children who are also physically active, according to a new study conducted by British researchers.  Importantly, the study could not definitively conclude that the correlation only went into the mother-to-child direction–it was also possible that more active kids demanded more physical involvement (also known as baby-chasing) from their mothers.  Because of this possibility, the researchers urged both parents and children to be mindful of their activity levels, and increase them to a healthy level whenever possible.

More from NPR on the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics:

[Lead author Esther] van Sluijs says just small changes – walking to the park instead of driving or playing a good game of tag instead of a board game – can make a difference.

“Increasing your physical activity just by a little bit already helps, you don’t have to become an athlete.” she says. “If you look at [small increases in activity] over a month or a year, that can actually have quite large benefits.”

Fathers weren’t part of the study, but van Sluijs says that doesn’t mean the call for more exercise should single out mothers.

“We do recommend that interventions are not just targeted at mothers and their children,” she tells Shots. “They’re actually targeted at the family unit because we know that siblings as well play an important role for children’s physical activity.”

Exercise With Baby: Biceps
Exercise With Baby: Biceps
Exercise With Baby: Biceps

Image: Mother and son doing yoga, via Shutterstock

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