On Thursday, May 23, according to the report from the Institute of Medicine—“Schools should ensure that kids get at least one hour of physical activity each day to support their health and boost performance in school.”*
According to Harold W. Kohl III, chair of the committee, “Schools already provide key services such as health screenings, immunizations and nutritious meals; daily physical activity is as important to children’s health and development as these other health-related services, and providing opportunities for physical activity should be a priority for all schools, both through physical education and other options.”*
With summer vacation “physical education and other options” become a family issue.
With the warmer months and longer days there are opportunities for outdoor fun. Outdoor activities provide fantastic enjoyment for families, from preschoolers, kids in elementary school, middle school, high school and their parents. Children learn from exploring what’s around them, they also get much-needed physical activity. However, just playing outdoors will give your children exercise and fresh air. There are many forms of outdoor recreation can be done as a family. Your children may even take what they’ve learned to school and teach other children how to play at recess.
Studies reveal that outdoor play is more than fun and games it is a fundamental need. Play remains a vital source of mental and emotional growth, throughout life. Play allows the brain to create new neuron, effectively forming new pathways for thought.
While you are having fun you are taking deep breaths, which increase the oxygen flow to your brain and releases muscle tension. Play is also a powerful antidote to stress helps lower blood pressure and reduces fatigue.
Fresh air and exercise is important for both your child’s and your health. Even if you work all day this summer is a great time to get out and play with your child. On weekends, evenings, and days off, get involved with your children’s activities and interests. Make plans to go biking, camping, swimming, or golfing. Walk to a field, a zoo, museum, a baseball game, a historical site, the library, or a park. Walk with an ice cream cone together, after dinner, or go on a picnic. Your children need to play with you; they need to talk with your full attention, involvement and watchfulness.
Your children, sad to say, will be spending less and less time with the family as they get older, so the time to play is now especially during the summer when schedules and people are more relaxed. You might find- just having fun- your family has more than the daily hour of exercise recommended in this report.
*SOURCE: Institute of Medicine, news release, May 23, 2013