how much and what type of exercise they should do at each age

In the countdown to the start of winter holidays, many children and adolescents (NNyA) are already counting how much more time they will have to dedicate to it to the Play, to the cell phone, the tablet, that is, to online entertainment. If sedentary lifestyle is a problem during the year, during this break the alarms go off even more because of the cold and the limitations imposed by the pandemic.

But it is also an opportunity to incorporate healthy habits. This is how they understand it from the Argentine Federation of Cardiology (FAC), which launched the 30×5 challenge, to encourage movement in boys and girls during the winter holidays. The goal, however, is for the habit to be incorporated in a lasting way.

A bit of context: in Argentina, according to the latest National Survey of Nutrition and Health (ENNyS2), whose preliminary results were known in 2019, boys eat worse than adults in terms of quality and 4 out of 10 are above their healthy weight, almost triple what is expected for the age. The data show that 20.7% of boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 17 are overweight and 20.4% obesity. Likewise, the country is at the top of the regional ranking of overweight in children under five years of age (13.6%).

The movement, key to preventing chronic non-communicable diseases. Photo Shutterstock.

Obesity and sedentary lifestyle are risk factor’s keys to cardiovascular disease, which can begin to develop at an early age. Like habits, both good and bad.

For this reason, with the winter holidays just around the corner, the FAC calls attention to the importance of sharing them with the family, emphasizing young people and the little ones, to encourage them to acquire healthy habits.

“We recognize that the social isolation carried out as a measure to slow the advance of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought negative consequences in the field of cardiovascular health, also in children and adolescents, “said Eduardo Perna, current president of the FAC.

The game, the main way to add exercise in childhood and adolescence.  Photo Shutterstock.

The game, the main way to add exercise in childhood and adolescence. Photo Shutterstock.

In this sense, the specialists point out that the school break is a good time to generate or strengthen behaviors and habits that promote cardiovascular health and thus begin to build the basis of a healthy life.

“Muscle is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for generating healthy substances for our body. That is why from the FAC we invite the 30X5 challenge. If you were during 30 minutes in front of the screen, do 5 minutes of physical activity and thus arrive at the daily time. Investing in muscle is generating healthy habits for life ”, encouraged Alejandro Amarilla, a member of the FAC and specialized in sports cardiology.

They highlight the importance of developing muscle strength.  Photo Shutterstock.

They highlight the importance of developing muscle strength. Photo Shutterstock.

How to apply the 30×5

From the FAC they maintain that family games are a good resource to meet the challenge, which must be established from early childhood. “Imagination is essential to transform any element of the home into a toy, which manages to stimulate the child both cognitively and physically”, they highlight.

“Without forgetting the importance of maintaining social distancing and hygiene habits during the pandemic, we must reinstate the physical activity and healthy eating“, they add from the FAC.

And they encourage “cooking as a family, and avoid children and adolescents spending a long time in front of the screens.”

Recreational activities, they say, should be part of the routines that allow kids to keep moving, while helping to strengthen family ties.

The practice of sport, fundamental in childhood and adolescence.  Photo Shutterstock.

The practice of sport, fundamental in childhood and adolescence. Photo Shutterstock.

“These habits can be started during the break and, most importantly, they must remain in time to prevent cardiovascular diseases associated with unhealthy eating, smoking, alcoholism and physical inactivity, “they stressed.

“There are numerous scientific evidence regarding the fact that adequate nutrition and physical activity, started from childhood, play a relevant role in the prevention of diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases, stroke and cancer. We must remember that cardiovascular health care must begin early and our goal is to do so from childhood and adolescence, “concluded Perna.

What and how much physical activity to do at each age

In 2019, the Argentine Society of Cardiology (SAC) and the Argentine Society of Pediatrics (SAP) published a consensus on cardiovascular prevention in childhood and adolescence in the Argentine Journal of Cardiology.

In the chapter dedicated to physical activity, they include a table with the type of exercise recommended for each age group and recommendations. Promoting an active lifestyle is the watchword that runs through all stages.

Next, the proposal made based on the evidence.

Under 1 year

Provide a safe and educational play environment for baby and encourage active or passive movement. Play on the floor, roll, crawl, walk. Recommendation: stimulate movement and physical activity several times a day.

1 to 4 years

Stimulate movement: walking, running, climbing, dancing, jumping.

4-6 years

Free play and exploration Games with balls, hoops, etc. Riding a tricycle, skateboard. Individual and group free play. Run, swim, jump, throw and catch. Skateboarding, rollerblading, bicycle. Games with balls, paddles and others.

Recommendation: Encourage movement and physical activity throughout the day. It is recommended at least 3 hours per day. Accumulate from the age of 5 a minimum of 1 hour a day of moderate or vigorous physical activity.

6-9 years

All of the above Sports initiation in group and individual sports (soccer, hockey, rugby, basketball, handball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, athletics, sports gymnastics, skating, dance, etc.) Participation with flexible rules and minimal competition.

Recommendation: Daily physical activity should be, for the most part, aerobic. Incorporate, at least three times a week, vigorous activities to develop muscle strength, flexibility, and increase bone mass.

10-12 years

All of the above. Participation in individual and collective organized sports. Include specific stimuli for cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and flexibility. Physical activity for more than 60 minutes a day will have an even greater health benefit.

Teenagers

Specific stimuli for cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and flexibility. Competitive and non-competitive sport. Sports specialization.

The recommendations are aligned with the physical activity guidelines of the World Health Organization, which specify how much and what type of exercise should be done at each age.

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