Actively Living

February 14, 2022

You may be wondering why a cardiac rehab company, a program that typically serves adults, would be discussing the importance of exercise during childhood. The following article will highlight the importance of regular physical activity within the younger population, and how this behavior can affect quality of life in later years. Studies have shown that physical activity levels have reduced across all ages over the past few decades. [3, 7] It has been evidenced that only children between the ages of 6-7 years old consistently meet recommended daily activity levels. [5] Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce risk of disease, increase muscle function, and improve quality of life. [4] Cardiac rehabilitation is a program focused on strengthening the cardiovascular system for individuals that have recently experienced a cardiac event. Cardiac rehab also emphasizes lifestyle modification education to prevent a further cardiac related hospitalization in the future. However, regular exercise within the early stages of our lives could potentially reduce the risk of such events from occurring. 

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, children and adolescents (ages 6-17 years old) should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. [2] This should consist primarily of aerobic exercise, supplemented with muscle and bone strengthening activities. In an article published in ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal, it was suggested that excessive screen time is a primary risk factor for physical inactivity among children. [1] Other contributing factors to declining activity levels could be the lack of perceived value of exercise from parents/guardians, or simply that an area for regular play is not accessible. Unfortunately, only 42% of children between the ages of 6-11 years old meet recommended daily activity levels. In addition, only 8% of 12-19 year olds meet recommendations. [5

As stated previously, regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and enhance muscular strength and endurance. [4, 6] Therefore, maintaining consistent exercise habits at a young age could help prevent health complications in the future. Something that may make exercise more fun for children and adolescents could be the involvement of family and friends. Having loved ones involved, such as participating in family walks or bike rides may make the experience more enjoyable. Perhaps patients in our virtual cardiac rehab program can share their knowledge of the importance of exercise with their younger companions. By exercising with the younger generation, one can create memories while promoting healthy habits.

FEATS IN HEARTBEATS  –  the moving analytics blog

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