Include 3 Types of Exercise continued...
Muscle strengthening. Three days a week, kids should work their muscles. At any age, they can do activities that use their body weight as resistance -- like gymnastics, push-ups, playing tug-of-war, or climbing rocks and trees. With the right coaching, older children and teens can work their muscles with resistance bands or weights, Dobrosielski says.
Weight-bearing exercise, like jumping, skipping, and running, at least 3 days a week will help them build strong bones.
Does all of this sound like a lot? Don’t worry -- many types of exercises fall into more than one of the categories, so it shouldn’t be hard to fit them all into your child’s week.
Watch for Burnout
For the most part, Nemeth says, children are very good at knowing their own energy levels. “If kids are just allowed to move as their bodies are telling them, I think it’s pretty hard for them to be moving too much,” he says.
Problems get more common when older children start to follow training schedules for organized sports. “Kids develop at different rates, and some will be able to tolerate more activity than others,” Nemeth says. “When an outside force like a coach or a trainer gets involved, it’s important for parents to make sure their children are still enjoying themselves and feeling good.”
If your child seems exhausted, injured, or unable to recover fully from workouts, he may be training too hard. Another burnout signal: Kids may also lose interest in activities they used to enjoy.
Keep your child physically and mentally healthy by encouraging him to try different sports throughout the year, and to mix in other activities on days he doesn’t have practice or games.
Nemeth also says kids should practice organized sports no more than 1 hour per year of age every week. For example, a 12-year-old should have no more than 12 hours a week of baseball practice and games.
Those who go over this limit are more likely to get injured. Young athletes who spend twice as many hours playing organized sports than they do in free play each week are also more likely to get hurt -- especially if they focus on just one activity.