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Feature:
Back to School, the Healthy Way

Exercise & Sleep

children running

At least one hour of physical activity a day helps kids. Photo: iStock

6 "Bests" About Kids' Exercise

At least one hour of physical activity a day helps kids to:

  • Feel less stressed
  • Feel better about themselves
  • Feel more ready to learn in school
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Build sturdy muscles, bones, and joints
  • Sleep better at night

More time in front of the TV means less time playing and running. So parents should limit TV, video game time, and computer time. They should set a good example by being physically active themselves. Exercising together can be fun for everyone. Some easy ways for kids to stay active include walking or biking to school, jumping rope, going to the playground, and participating in organized sports programs.

student sleeping during class

Child sleeping during class. Photo: iStock

Getting enough ZZZZs

Nodding off in school may not be the only outcome for otherwise healthy teens who don't get enough sleep. A study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) links poor sleep in teens (ages 13 to 16 years old) to higher blood pressure. Researchers found that teens who got less than 6 ½ hours sleep were 2½ times more likely to have elevated blood pressure than teens who slept longer. Also, teens who had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep were 3½ times more likely to have high blood pressure or pre-high blood pressure than teens who slept well. These results are similar to findings from other studies in adults. High blood pressure, if left untreated, can increase the risk of stroke and heart diseases later in life.

  • Sleep Facts: School-aged children and teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night
  • Sleep Tips: Set a sleep schedule; going to bed and waking up the same times each day. Keep room temperature on the cool side. A TV or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction.
Read More "Back to School The Healthy Way" Articles

Check-Ups and Immunizations / Exercise and Sleep / 10 Healthy Breakfast and Lunch Tips

Fall 2012 Issue: Volume 7 Number 3 Page 22