Just keep movin’ advise ARC Pediatricians

three happy children outside enjoying physical activity

"In addition to the physical consequences of lack of exercise," said Deborah K. (Bryant) Countie, MD at ARC Four Points in Four Points News, "movement is important for students' social and emotional well-being as well. Movement is great for self-regulation, mood, sleep, diet, and focus, and in a pandemic that is especially valuable." With virtual school and staying at home still the norm for many, movement is more limited than ever. Only 25% of children get the recommended amount of activity a day.

"If kids are inactive for too long, changes in their wellness and behavior are likely to occur,' said Jacques Benun, MD at ARC Manor in Manor Journal. "Those consequences are compounded for vulnerable families struggling through the pandemic."

"We're fortunate to live in a moderate climate where kids can get outdoors even in the winter months for some physical activity in a safe space," adds Sunaina Suhag, MD, currently at ARC Manor, in Elgin Courier. "Walking is good exercise at any time, so families could take a walk and notice their surroundings in new ways."

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for movement:

  • Infants: 30 minutes of "tummy time" a day -- that can look like sitting in a chair, being lifted like "superman" or traditional.
  • Children 3-5 years old: 3 hours of movement broken into 15 minutes per hour of wake time.
  • Children 6+: 1 hour moderate to vigorous exercise most days.

Tips to add movement to your child's day:

  • Include play in your child's daily or weekly assignments. Give it a suggested time frame, as you would a reading lesson.
  • Make it fun. There are lots of ways to incorporate a little fun into everyday movement--jump like a frog, starfish jumping jacks, obstacle courses, gardening, walking, catching bubbles, digging for fossils.
  • Introduce ball sports for older preschoolers and grade school. Get out a big ball to kick around or a smaller ball to catch. Kids don't have to be in an organized sport activity to enjoy playing with a ball.
  • Incorporate movement in between activities. Between virtual class and lunch pretend you are a bear or a cat. After dinner, take a walk. Anything to add a little more movement during the course of the day.

For more information or ideas, check out the AAP website, HealthyChildren.org.

Dr. Benun, will be on paternity leave until May 10, but Dr. Suhag will be seeing his patients at ARC Manor during his leave. Dr. Countie is seeing patients at ARC Wilson Parke. To make an appointment with any of these ARC Pediatricians, visit ARCBookNow.com.

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