7 ways parents prevent kids from getting enough exercise

Why children are sitting too much, and how parents unwittingly contribute to this phenomenon.

By Maria Barillaro

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7 ways parents prevent kids from getting enough exercise

It's no surprise that kids today are less physically active than they were 20 years ago. But the question remains: Why? We spoke to Dr. Glen Ward, chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society Public Education Advisory Committee and a paediatrician in Surrey, BC, to get his take on why children aren't getting enough exercise. Find out how these common mistakes parents make prevent their kids from being as active as they should be.

1. Overestimating the value of organized sports
Ward, a father himself, says society places too much emphasis on organized sport and not enough on free play. Playing a sport once or twice a week is not nearly enough physical activity, but parents seems to think that if it isn't organized, it's not exercise. Ward disagrees. He points out how little physical activity children sometimes get with organized athletics, which he says are "a lot of commitment for relatively little activity time." The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity per day for children. Free play, like running around the backyard, results in more activity time over a shorter period and also saves parents the sometimes high cost of organized sports.

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