I’m sure that we have all heard our fair share of stories about different “facts” on physical activity and health from our uncle who “could’ve played professional ball”, or even our middle school P.E. teacher that thought he had all the answers.
I’ve put together a list of common misconceptions or myths that people have attached to physical activity and healthy behavior that we all may have thought were true for sometime.
Myth #1: Children are so young and energetic, there’s no point in teaching them about physical activity at a young age. False
All adolescents are required to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. In recent years, sedentary lifestyles have become more popular and less children are walking or cycling to school. These lifestyles are being caused by the popularity of computers, television and video games at the expense of physical activity and after school programs. Regardless of how young and energetic a child may be, it is always imperative that they are physically active for future habits
Myth #2: Kids get enough exercise in gym class and at recess. False
As bad as we may want this to be true, this is not the case. The time children are exercising at school compared to the time that they are sedentary are vastly different. The amount of physical activity that children are getting at school is not enough to instill healthy physical activity habits later on in their lives and there must be more of an effort to incorporate more movement and activity during their time at school. This is important because kids spend most of their day at school and due to the recent popularity of sedentary lifestyles, the chances of kids exercising after they leave school are decreasing.
Myth #3: My child is big boned, so exercise and dieting will not help with their physical health. False
There is no such thing as big boned. Nobody can be big boned, but you can be overweight. Using your family history of being large people is not a valid excuse for your child not to get the required amount of exercise.
Myth #4: My child is overweight right now, but they will outgrow that ‘excess’ weight eventually. False
It is normal for children to gain weight throughout their childhood because it is a necessary part of the growth process. However, depending on your child to outgrow their weight or activity issues is not a reliable way to make sure that your kid will grow up healthy with good exercise habits. You cannot depend on routine growth spurts to compensate for a weight issue, and it is important that clinically overweight children get enough exercise during their youth.
Myth #5: A child’s education is more important than their physical health at a young age. False
Some parents believe that focusing too much on physical activity at a young age instead of education will lead to children being less devoted to their school work. Studies actually show that students who reached daily exercise levels scored higher in math and reading over a two year study.
Myth #6: Our family isn’t naturally active, therefore my child will follow the same path. False
This one is clearly not true. Just because your family leads a sedentary lifestyle, does not automatically mean that your child won’t want to exercise and partake in physical activity. It is on the adults to educate their children about the benefits of being physically active and reaching the required amount of physical exercise.
Myth #7: Having kids vigorously exercise too early can be detrimental to their growth. False
This is a popular belief that many have believed to be true for a long time. The truth is, the child’s body does not know the difference between lifting a weight and playing with their friends, their muscles will still contract in the same way. If the myth were true, there would be tiny kids all over the country, like tiny farm children or tiny competitive athletes.
Myth #8: If a parent is healthy with good exercise habits, their child will naturally follow the same road. True
I bet you guys thought that this one would be false too. Studies show that there is a direct correlation between parents with healthy lifestyles to their children leading the same ones. If kids are exposed to being healthy at a young age and partake in these behaviors, the easier it will be for them to carry them on throughout their lifetimes.
In conclusion, there are a lot of myths floating around out there that have been said to be true for some time. The reality of the situation is that physical activity is beneficial in all cases. There are very few cases where physical activity can actually be detrimental to your health or unnecessary. For more information from sources you can trust, be sure to check out my previous post, which contains a number of different sources with great information on the topic of physical activity in adolescents. Also, if you are part of the twitter-sphere, you can follow Let’s Move! on twitter to keep up with the information that they are sharing daily.