Originally published Aug. 2, 2019 by KCBD News Channel 11.

By Katie Main

With the beginning of the new school year just around the corner, it is important for parents to know how to keep their children active despite being in the classroom all day.

Melanie Hart, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management at Texas Tech, said during the summer children are really active.

“They’re out, they’re running, they’re riding their bikes, they’re swimming, they’re going constantly,” Hart said.

But, then school begins again and children are back to sitting in a desk the majority of the day.

Hart said children do not usually get enough physical activity while at school.

“The CDC recommends that children 6 years of age and older get 60 minutes of what’s called MVPA, moderate to vigorous physical activity,” Hart said.

Hart said many schools have done away with recess and some only offer physical education every other day.

“They may get 20 to 25 minutes of MVPA,” Hart said.

Hart said it is important for parents to know how much physical activity their kids are getting at school. That way, say, they know their children are getting 30 minutes at school, they can make plans to engage with their kids in physical activity for another 30 minutes at home.

“Some type of martial arts, whether it’s gymnastics, dance, sports, you know whatever, but something where they can be up and physical. If they have a safe environment to be able to ride bikes, to hop, skip and jump and do all of that sort of thing,” Hart said.

Hart said it is important to encourage these habits at a young age so children do not run into issues when they are older.

“High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes,” Hart said. “And, so if we don’t somehow get our children more active, then we’re probably going to run into even more of that. ”

Hart said being physically active also increases academic performance.

“A lot of people think that, oh well if I keep them in the classroom and I keep them engaged then they’re going to do much better on their test scores,” Hart said. “The research actually shows just the opposite.”

She also said it is not enough to do a lot of physical activity on the weekend, it is important to be active every day.

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    Keeping children active outside the classroom once school starts
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    Keeping children active outside the classroom once school starts
    With less free time during school, parents must keep an eye on children's MVPA opportunities to keep them active at home.
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    WCBD News Channel 11
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