Active Kids Build Strong Bones
I just loved the “GOT MILK” campaign that caught so much attention for the milk industry and is still pretty popular today. It reminds me of my grandparents diary farm in Hindsale, MA where I spent my childhood summers drinking milk in the diary before it was shipped off to the big companies for resale. I can remember how fresh and cold it was as my Aunt Ginny scooped it out with a tin cup from the churning barrel that cleans it.
But drinking fresh milk wasn’t all I did at the farm. We used to pick the eggs out of the chicken coop, pick corn from the fields, bail hay onto the wagons, shovel cow manure in the barn, ride on the tracker, go crawfishing in the river! Man it was fun. Didn’t feel like work back then but now that I think of it, my grandparents were getting some great free labor!
In any case, all that time I wasn’t thinking about how good it was for my health, what a strong foundation I was building for my body or how my healthy habits were already being set for the rest of my life. It felt great to be involved in the activities of the farm life, to be exhausted at the end of the day, and feel excited for what would come tomorrow.
I pray that I’ll be blessed with kids someday and can give them an equally fun and active childhood experience. One where activity becomes a staple of life, not something practiced on occasion.
Not only is living an active lifestyle critical for developing lifelong habits from an early age, it helps to develop strong bones!
As we age we begin to lose bone mineral density because we don’t naturally produce as much calcium and it’s taken from our bones. Luckily, our kids don’t have that problem; they are producing plenty of calcium at a young age to build solid healthy bones!
However, Calcium is not the only factor that will determine bone mineral density. Weight bearing activities are also a major contributor to healthy strong bones.
Kids who are sedentary or inactive are at risk of losing bone mineral density and not developing adequate bone strength. This can lead to early deformation of the skeleton such as kyphosis (forward slouching of the upper back), or risk of broken bones including the spine. Without a solid bone structure, kids are less likely to develop a strong and balance muscular structure and will be even more likely to stay inactive and sedentary throughout their lives.
Weight bearing activities include anything that challenges us to fight the force of gravity below us:
The activities that give us no weight bearing exercise are things like playing on the computer, video games, reading, watching TV, or sleeping.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3 exercises a day to encourage weight-bearing exercises for kids as well as adults. Weight bearing exercises will help kids build strong healthy bones as well as strength, coordination, and aerobic conditioning! This is a win-win way of creating a generation of stronger and healthier kids.
- Hop Scotch: Start with feet shoulder width apart. Alternate by jumping off both feet simultaneously and landing on only 1 foot and then back to landing on two feet!
- Jumping Jacks: Start with feet together and arms to your sides, jump off the ground to bring your feet shoulder width apart and hands above your head, then jump again to bring yourself back to the starting position. Repeat.
- Push-ups: Hands underneath your shoulders and feet together. Keep your body straight hovering the ground and slowly lower towards the floor and come back up!
EXTRA TIP FOR BONE HEALTH!!
Pediatricians recommend water or low fat milk for kids versus soda’s and sugary sweetened drinks because it’s certainly better for the bones. Sugars and other elements in soda actually steal calcium from bones. Train kids early to avoid these habits.
GET READY, GET SET & GET FIT!