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Study: Students' Exercise Guidelines Need More Focus

Study: Students' Exercise Guidelines Need More Focus

According to new research, exercise guidelines for students should focus on quality and quantity. The activities provided in schools should benefit both the body and the mind.

Most guidelines, including those from the World Health Organization and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "recommend that kids and teens get 60 minutes each day of moderate to vigorous exercise, according to an article on "Many don’t specify what kind, but imply that aerobics should be the focus, with additional "strength training” three times per week."

In a review article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine the authors wrote that, "the current emphasis on exercise quantity limits considerations of quality."

“These data were developed in the 1950s primarily for adults,” said lead author Dr. Gregory D. Myer of the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in the article.

According to the article, "an hour of aerobic exercise may promote aerobic fitness and muscle strength, but not necessarily motor skill development, socialization or having fun, the authors write."

"Kids don’t ask to go run two miles, they don’t enjoy it,” Myer told Reuters Health in the article.

The preadolescent period, the article said, "is the time when developing brains can best learn and reinforce motor skill control, which will make physical fitness more sustainable later in life, the authors write."

“It can be done in adults as well, motor skills and strengthening, but it’s going to be harder,” Myer said in the article.

"He and his coauthors describe developmental exercise programming called Integrative Neuromuscular Training [INT], which they say challenges and stimulates the child’s mind and body and may make them more likely to play sports or stay fit through adolescence," the article said. The program, which the authors developed in 2011 to reduce sports-related injuries, focuses on short bursts of purposeful activity interspersed with periods of rest. INT includes resistance training, dynamic stability, core focused strength development, plyometrics and agility exercises adapted to specific age groups and developmental levels. The best time to start is before age 10-12 for girls and 12-14 for boys, according to the researchers."

According to Dr. Urs Eiholzer, head of the PEZZ Center for Pediatric Endocrinology Zurich in Switzerland said that regular physical activity is "crucial for children."

"It benefits perception, language, emotional skills, social behavior, in short intellectual development," Eiholzer said in the article. "Children with good motor skills can move around with greater precision, reducing the risk of accidents and developing sporting potential.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor  

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