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Study: Even Some Vigorous Activity Boosts Kids’ Heart Health

Adding 20 More Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Make Big Difference

20 Minutes More a Day Can Make a Big Difference

To reap these benefits, kids would have to add about 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.

Eleanor Mackey, PhD, is a clinical psychologist at the Obesity Institute at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She says healthy habits such as regular vigorous exercise only stick if they become a family affair. “Do it together to make it fun and not a chore,” she says. “Join the swim team or soccer team or something that is fun and structured and gets on the calendar so nobody misses it.” A brisk walk before or after dinner can also be fun for the whole family. 

“Don’t nag kids about exercise,” she says. Adding 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day isn’t hard. Kids can do jumping jacks during the commercials of their favorite TV show.

Meet them where they are. “You can’t just pick an activity for your kids, because if they don’t want to do it, you will all be miserable.” she says. The earlier you start, the more likely these healthy habits will stick.

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