The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested that doctors should monitor the physical activity levels of children and their parents, in an attempt to combat the growing problem of obesity.
A policy statement published in the May issue of Pediatrics asked pediatricians to determine and document how much time patients spend doing sedentary activities, and urge them to reduce TV and video game time.
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They also advised schools to reinstate mandatory daily physical education, and encouraged parents to make physical activity a part of the family lifestyle.According to government figures, more than one-third of U.S. children are overweight.
It's about time a mainstream health organization as influential as the American Academy of Pediatrics got on the exercise bandwagon.
I'm not sure if this is going to be effective, but it is wonderful to see conventional medicine gaining more interest as, without question, exercise is one of the most important lifestyle changes that people can and need to make to stay healthy. And, it is especially critical that more opportunities for exercise are available for children, as we have an obesity epidemic on our hands.
Among the suggestions to be introduced by the academy are quite a few I've discussed before on my Web site:
This is a remarkable transition in my lifetime, as I vividly recall the late '60s when the standard of care was to have patients rest for six to eight weeks after a heart attack because physicians believed that the heart needed to rest and relax. Not true.
When I first started running in the late '60s, it was so unusual that I would have people throw rocks and beer cans at me while they were yelling at me. It was practically a criminal activity back then, as it was assumed that the only need to run was if you were running away from a crime ...
My how times have changed.
I would suggest that, in order to best optimize your health, you should view exercise as a drug that needs to be precisely prescribed to achieve maximum benefits. A daily exercise routine is one of the main factors in achieving optimal wellness.
The key to exercising effectively is to make sure the variables below are properly addressed. By doing so, you will ensure all your hard efforts are not wasted and are having a positive effect on your body. To aid you in your exercise efforts, there are three important variables to keep in mind:
I encourage my patients to gradually increase the amount of time they are exercising to 60-90 minutes a day. Initially the frequency is daily. This is a treatment dose until they normalize their weight or insulin levels. Once normalized, they will only need to exercise three to four times a week.
You should exercise hard enough so that it is difficult to talk to someone next to you. When you are exercising that hard, your cardiovascular system is under such a significant amount of stress that the mere act of talking makes you unable to provide your body with enough oxygen. However, if you cannot carry on a conversation AT ALL, then you have gone too far and need to decrease the intensity.
I've devoted many pages on my Web site to the wonderful benefits exercise will do for your health. If you need some direction to get started, I urge you to review my beginner's exercise page that includes links to other pages and a free table you can download to keep track of your progress.