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How long and how hard should kids exercise?
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Chris Tiongson, MD posted:
I got a question today from someone who is leading a program here in North Dakota to promote healthy habits for kids. She wanted to include an exercise class with education about healthy eating and activity for 4th and 5th graders.

I thought it was a great idea to be able to help kids get their exercise and be a opportunity for the kids to see adults model good habits.

So, how long and how hard should kids exercise?

The general recommendation is for kids to get at least 60 minutes a day of moderate or more intense exercise per day.

O-kay. 60 minutes is clear, but how moderate is moderate?

Here are a couple or resources to help you and your kids set a good pace.

1. http://blogs.elon.edu/ptkids/category/tm-tools/24-perceived-exertion-scale-for-children/
The link outlines a 10 point scale of exertion with child-friendly descriptions. Moderate exertion would be at a 5/10. Some versions have faces to go with the numbers like a kid's pain rating scale.
Scoring:
1……Very, Very Easy
2……Very Easy
3……Easy
4 ……Just Feeling a Strain
5…….Starting to get hard
6…….Getting Quite hard
7…….Hard
8……..Very Hard
9……..Very, Very Hard
10……So Hard I am going to Stop


2. This one is even easier: the Talk Test
http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/measuring/index.html
http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/measuring/index.html
"The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity. As a rule of thumb, if you're doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing, during the activity. If you're doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath."
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marshagal responded:
The talk test is a wonderful rule of thumb to go by with kids!. I used to take a walking class and my instructor used that as a way for us to know when to walk 'harder'. If you dont have that gauge, it is super easy to just stroll and not really get a good workout. So I always followed the talk rule.. well, actually for me it was the sing rule. The important part though is that you do exercise that actually causes you to lose your breath a little. That is what most kids dont understand quite yet!


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