6 Ways To Keep Your Child Active During Virtual Learning

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keeping kids active

With many schools going to virtual learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children no longer have access to school-based physical activities such as extra-curricular sports, physical education classes, recess and walking to and from school.

Although these social-distancing measures are necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, they may have limited children’s ability to get enough physical activity to maintain their health and prevent disease.

A recent study warned that short-term changes in physical activity and sedentary behavior in reaction to COVID-19 may become a permanent habit, leading to increased risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in children.

Children Becoming More Sedentary

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each day, says Susannah Briskin, MD, UH Pediatric Sports Medicine specialist and co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics' COVID-19 interim guidelines on youth sports.

That includes daily aerobic exercise, which should include three days a week that strengthen bones like running or jumping and builds muscles like climbing or doing push-ups, Dr. Briskin says.

“Because so many kids have been transitioned to virtual learning, we are seeing children becoming more sedentary,” Dr. Briskin says. “Kids need to move for their mental and physical well-being.”

Kids who have been sedentary have a higher risk of overuse injuries upon returning to sports, she says.

“It is important to maintain a baseline level of impact and cardiovascular activity even during virtual schooling,” Dr. Briskin says.

Here are some ideas to keep your child active on a daily basis.

Get Outside in an Open Space and Walk Daily

Try to do a 10- to 20-minute session at a brisk pace. This is especially important if you are taking virtual classes – do it during your breaks between instruction sessions.

Go For a Hike

Trails are open all year long. Dress for the weather in layers.

Use Technology to Help You Move

Try out fitness and yoga apps such as downdogapp.com. For older kids, log into your favorite local yoga or fitness studios virtual classes.

Dance

Put music on, do a dance video game or find a dance workout on YouTube.

Do Body Weight Workouts

Try to do a 10- 20-minute session of lunges, planks, plyometrics, pushups, up downs/mountain climbers.

Jump Rope

A 10- 20-minute session of jump rope is the perfect at-home exercise to get your child’s heart rate up and get moving.

Related Links

University Hospitals Sports Medicine takes a multidisciplinary approach that integrates care from medical experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment for athletes of all ages and abilities. Our fellowship-trained sports medicine specialists, primary care doctors, nutritionists, sleep experts and other health care professionals ensure the very best in health and medical care for athletes. Learn more about sports medicine at University Hospitals.

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