How Much Time Do Your Children Spend Sitting During The Day?
My daughter came home from school this week talking about the Project ACES program at her school and how she needs to exercise during the day! The program promotes the concept that we all need to move for at least 60 minutes per day. Needless to say I was thrilled to hear that the school was encouraging the kids to move! Especially since my daughter went from being pretty active during the day over the first 5 years of her life to sitting in a chair at a desk for approximately 5-6 hours during a typical school day. That is definitely a difficult transition to make! I have written about the damage that prolonged sitting can have on us,both physically and mentally. But what about our kids? Are we doing them a disservice by requiring them to spend so much time sitting? John Ratey, MD thinks so, he wrote Spark: The Revolutionary New Science Of Exercise And The Brain (which is a fantastic book by the way) that discusses the link between exercise and brain function. Based on the research cited in Dr. Ratey's book, It makes sense to me that the more that our children move in school the more likely they are to absorb what they are being taught! So let's encourage them to move and exercise both during the school day and after school (although this weekend's weather may put a little of a damper on that).
Recently, The New York Times published an article on their health and wellness blog that discussed the impact that sitting has on our children. Remember the 5-6 hours of sitting that our children do during the school day? In the blogpost, the author stated that children typically sit for about 8.5 hours per day! So in addition to the time at school, we need to remember the time that they spend sitting to eat breakfast and dinner, the time on the bus, the time sitting to do their homework, and of course the time that they spend watching television. We also have to remember that most children are only awake for 12 hours in a day... That is a HUGE portion of their day spent in a seated position. What kind of physical damage does that 8.5 hours cause? One of the studies that the article discusses found that when children sit for prolonged periods it can significantly impact the vascular function in their legs. Those vascular issues can easily be prevented though! All that the kids have to do is to get up and move once an hour! That's It! Once per hour! That is not that hard to do. Is it? So let's make a commitment to our kids, and lead by example. If it is important for your kids to move for 60 minutes per day, show them how important it is by doing it yourself!
Here is a video of a TED talk presented by Dr. Ratey
If you would like to read the article from
The New York Times here is the LINK
Movement is my Medicine,
Dr. William "Chip" Bleam