According to the American Heart Association, researchers determined in 2013 that since 1975, American children’s cardiovascular endurance fell on average of 6 percent per decade between 1970 and 2000. It’s not just a problem in America either, the cardiovascular health of children in nations around the world have declined by 5 percent each decade.
Some other eye-opening statistics from this study show that kids today are “roughly 15 percent less fit from a cardiovascular standpoint than their parents were as youngsters” and they run a mile run a minute and a half slower than children from 30 years ago.
“Young people can be fit in different ways. They can be strong like a weightlifter, or flexible like a gymnast, or skillful like a tennis player. But not all of these types of fitness relate well to health,” said Grant Tomkinson, Ph.D., lead author of the study mentioned in the American Heart Association article. “The most important type of fitness for good health is cardiovascular fitness, which is the ability to exercise vigorously for a long time, like running multiple laps around an oval track.”
The good news is that these trends can be changed for the future and even if your daughter or son is part of a generation that continues to degenerate physically, they can alter the way their cardiovascular performance with daily activities and lifestyle changes.
Here are five ways to improve your child’s cardio endurance:
- Improve their Diet – A well-balanced diet can improve a child’s endurance. Having a daily diet that is full of nutritious foods can provide your child with more energy during school and after-school activities. As a parent, it also helps t if you encourage your child’s eating habits by making healthy food choices too. Foods that increase stamina include bananas, red grapes, complex cards and iron-rich foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a diet that includes a mix of foods from the five food groups: fresh vegetables and fruits, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, and quality lean protein sources, including lean meats, fish, nuts, seeds and eggs).
- Build a Daily Routine – A daily routine that includes physical activity will get your child into a habit of staying active throughout their entire life. A daily routine that encourages fitness helps your child build up endurance.
- Variety of Activities – While a daily routine is certainly useful to keep your child active, it’s also important to mix up the type of activities they are doing. Walking or jogging, cycling, swimming and low-intensity dancing are all activities that are aerobic exercises, which are low to high-intensity exercises that primarily depend on aerobic energy-generating processes. Having your child walk an hour one day is just as useful for their cardio endurance as swimming for 30 minutes another day. Mixing up these activities allows your child to not get bored of repeating the same activity each day. These cardio activities will help them perform better in other types of fitness
- Get Involved with a Sport – If your child needs to be motivated with competition to get them active, sports and activities such as jazz dance or ballet can keep them physically fit and active. Children should still use aerobic activities to keep them performing at their best in these activities. For example, a sport such as basketball utilizes their aerobic exercise from jogging as they will be running up and down the court.
- Get Involved in Dance or Ballet – One of the best uses for cardiovascular endurance is dancing and ballet. Supplementing cardio workouts with dance and ballet can improve the overall experience for your child. The benefits of cardiovascular endurance for dancers include improved posture and health, enhanced stamina and performance ability, improvement with an anaerobic ability (high-intensity dancing is anaerobic), reduced risk of fatigue while enhancing concentration, reduced stress levels, boosted immune system, and reduced risk of injury.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to help your child improve their cardio endurance. To get your child involved in dance or ballet, give us a call at (816) 214-7370. Catherine’s Dance Studio has a range of activities your child can choose from pre-ballet, ballet, jazz, and hip hop.
The original date of this post was November 2015. It has been updated.