Why did I research this?
My five year old does not stop moving except when he is asleep and although I know this is what most boys do (because humans from long ago were out on the farm all day ploughing and digging not sitting down learning the alphabet), but what I wanted to know was just why my son loves to shout, stomp, jump from his bunk bed with a thud and pretend he is skydiving from our lounge! We have house rules (soft feet, soft voice to name a few) but at times my mind can wonder into oblivion about hyperactivity > ADHD > school (agh!), etc, etc and so it was time to find out just how much exercise boys need.
What did I find?
I found that a variety of exercise is needed rather than a certain amount. One can tell when their children are not getting enough exercise by how much they are moving at home. Is he stomping, shouting, roaring, banging more than normal? My thoughts when first reading this were… “Hmmm don’t think so. We walk to school, go to the park and play running races in the back garden mostly everyday”. But then I read Rao’s ideas on exercise and realised that there is a whole lot more we could be doing like:
Carrying bricks, playing tug of war, carrying heavy watering cans, bringing shopping in (like sacks of rice or milk cartons), crunching ice, chewing crunchy food like carrots, squeezing the toothpaste onto toothbrushes, smashing empty egg shells, taking the rubbish out, making and throwing sand bombs (in the sand pit or at the beach), playing skipping, handstands against the wall, balancing on brick walls, arm wrestles, finger wars, chin ups, leg lifts, hammering nails, painting a large area, shouting and singing loudly outside, pushing the lawn mower, squatting down to tie shoelaces, vacuuming and so forth.
As a guide, the recommended physical activity (where the heart rate is up) for children under five is 180 minutes per day and 60 minutes for children aged 5-18. And in case you weren’t convinced about its benefits, physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reduce the risk of stress, depression and some diseases.
Why is this useful?
Promoting a variety of exercise into your household rather than paid organised sport will:
- save you money
- use up more of your children’s energy
- strengthen your children’s muscles
- restore calmness
- reduce worry about your child and how much he (or she) is moving.
Exercise Relive Stress. (n.d). Retrieved from