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Cardio for Kids: Helping Your Little One Maintain Heart Health

The natural energy that kids have at a young age often propels their active lifestyle, but sometimes these small bursts of energy aren't quite enough to meet the daily cardio needs that keep children strong and healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), kids and teens ages 6 to 17 need at least an hour a day of high-intensity cardio (running, jumping, climbing) in order to build muscle and keep bones strong. Helping your child meet daily activity goals can also help decrease the chances of developing nearsightedness, promote socialization, help kids manage stress, and heighten their attention span.

Carving out time for exercise in a fun way will help keep kids excited about getting moving, and the following tips and tricks will get kiddos away from electronics and help them fully engage with the physical activities that will make them healthy and strong.

Show Don't Tell

Getting kids off the couch and excited about living an active lifestyle requires parents and guardians to demonstrate the importance and enjoyment of exercise. Doing activities together as a family is a perfect way to motivate the little ones in your life and commit to an active lifestyle as a group. The goal is to make cardio fun, and letting kids pick and choose activities along with the rest of the family will make sure that they feel heard and help them feel empowered by movement. Parents must remember that their kids are watching everything they do, so making time for personal workouts, whether outdoors, at the gym, in your home, or participating in group sports, will inspire them to follow in your footsteps.

Team Sports Help Kids Stay Motivated

The benefits of team sports are vast, and being able to help your kids get moving is one of many advantages. Team sports provide children with the advanced knowledge that they need to push to mature exercise levels and learn about healthy eating, muscle retention, coordination, and mobility. Sports also help kids fall in love with exercise and develop fitness goals to improve their fitness levels. Building team skills, confidence, sportsmanship, learning hard work, and having fun while doing cardio are extended benefits of sports that will stay with children for the rest of their lives.

Create Games That Support Physical Mobility

Having fun while getting exercise is contagious, and creating games that allow kids to run, jump, leap, or climb will help them come to enjoy daily exercise. Recruiting your children's help to think of games and activities takes the pressure off of parents and allows them to develop the skills needed to think of creative ways to stay active. Accessories such as jump ropes, hula hoops, or balls are easy additions that create instant games. Electronic games such as Nintendo's Wii Fit or Just Dance programs can also be used indoors if being outside isn't an option, and offer a wide variety of fun workouts. Bikes, rollerblades, snowboards, and skateboards are other fun additions that will help to keep your kids active.


Even though technology has opened the door to knowledge and learning resources that have been virtually untapped, parents are finding themselves struggling with children and adolescents regarding excessive screen time. New tools have been developed to help parents monitor screen time and some go as far as rendering devices unusable after a certain amount of time has been spent. For parents that find themselves in need of ideas in this area, one method to use is to provide access to gadgets only after movement goals for the day have been met.

Teaching the little ones in your life about the importance of cardio requires tackling the issue both mentally and physically. Inspiring them to be their best and showing them the joy of exercise will help them create habits that will impact their adult life. Movement can be embedded in family vacations, outings, and anywhere in between. By incorporating exercise into everyday life, children learn that training is as necessary as thinking, breathing, and eating.

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