Friday, July 21, 2006

Don't forget to schedule playtime!

I read this article today, a great reminder for me as I'm thinking through our daily school schedule:
Good news for kids: Doctors advise more play
Youngsters between 5 and 16 need to be active for 1 1/2 hours a day

"European and international health experts say a new study makes the most convincing case yet for the benefits of children being active. They say the research may lead to new guidelines saying youngsters between ages 5 and 16 need to be active up to 1½ hours a day."For some parents, that might be accomplished simply by showing their children the door.

Now, that doesn't mean that we need to now enroll all our homeschooled kids in structured PE classes. To the contrary:

"For some parents, that might be accomplished simply by showing their children the door. “Just making sure children play outside will double the amount of physical activity they get,” said Dr. Lars Bo Andersen, lead author of the research published Friday in the medical journal Lancet."

Some other quotes of note:

“We don’t need to be getting kids running in the gym on treadmills,” said Cavill. “We need to encourage kids to play.” One of the study’s key findings, he explained, is that it proves the utility of short bursts of activity, rather than a need for continuous exercise.
The researchers said physical activity does not demand intense exercise, such as playing soccer or tennis. “There is a value to five- and 10-minute bouts of activity, where kids will run for a little while and then stop,” said Cavill.

(The entire article is really good- these are just the parts that jumped out at me.)

I'm glad for this reminder, especially now that my kids are older. I don't know that I would place that much importance on getting them outside, and especially for 1-1/2 hours a day. We have a treadmill which they both enjoy using, but I think I'm going to be "showing them the door" more. There's more of an emphasis on outside playtime when they are younger, but older kids and adults need it just as much. In Greater Health God's Way Stormie Omartian says that, "I've seen people who were sickly and suffering from insomnia and nervous disorders become new people when they took on a program of physical activity in the great outdoors." Sounds like it would be good for me, too!

One of my goals for this year will be to let school out(side) more often!

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