In the age of technology and social media, children and adolescents are now less likely to be physically active. Research has indicated that living a sedentary lifestyle (e.g. not being physically active and playing video games or watching television) can lead to increased risk for obesity, attention problems, and school difficulties (Limbers et al., 2008; Tomporowski et al., 2015).
Technology has a huge impact on a child’s function here are some general guidelines to help limit and manage the use of time spent on technology:
- Increase exposure to books and educational material
- Establish screen-free zones in the home like the bedroom or dining room
- Spend time outdoors engaging in family activities
- Limit the amount of screen time weekly – which could be no more than 2 hours a day or only on the weekend.
- Go for a family bike ride
- Play a sport together
- Family contest to see who takes the most steps in a week
- Family walk in the neighbourhood after dinner on a weeknight.
Exercise and mental and physical health
Studies have shown that when children engage in exercise it helps to improve their thinking and concentration, as well as academic performance. A study has shown that engaging in as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise has positive benefits on academic performance. Exercise can also reduce depression and anxiety and psychological distress and also improve a child’s self-esteem.
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