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Kids Only Need to Exercise for 10 Minutes a Day to Reap Benefits, Study Says

It turns out just 10 minutes of intense activity is enough to help kids stay on the right track with their health.

mother and son playing soccer mimagephotography/Shutterstock
We already know exercise provides so many benefits for kids, from stress relief to disease prevention. Now a new study finds that even short bursts of activity are good for our children...and us, too!

In fact, just 10 minutes of sweat time prevents kids and teens from developing heart problems and diabetes. Sure, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it's ideal for kids 6 and older to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. But 10, 20, or 30 minutes is better than nothing!

For the study, which was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers looked at 11,600 kids between the ages of 4 and 18. They found that mini-sessions of intense activity benefited kiddos who had relatively large waists and elevated levels of insulin in their blood, according to Health Day.

Explains lead author Justin Moore, "The results suggest that substituting modest amounts of vigorous physical activity for longer-duration light exercise may have cardiometabolic benefits above and beyond those conveyed by moderate activity and the avoidance of sedentary behavior." He added, "If such studies provide robust results, a relatively brief but intense dose of physical activity—perhaps as little as 10 minutes day, which is certainly feasible for most youth—could turn out to be part of a 'prescription' for children to achieve or maintain cardiac and metabolic health."

Ten minutes of activity is certainly achievable for every member of the family, even on a rainy day. Have a dance party! Play a vigorous game of Simon Says, packed with movement, like jumping jacks and running in place. Set up a little obstacle course for kids.

If you can, get outside for a 10-minute walk, suggest a game of tag, or go on a short bike ride between dinner and bath time. With summer on the way, it's a great time to set up the sprinkler to run through, or just head out to the park.

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.