Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control recommends that children and adolescents aged 6 – 17 years participate in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day? Yet only 24% of American kids were meeting this guideline, according to the 2018 U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. As trends for obesity and “adult” diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes are increasing in kids, getting our bodies moving becomes even more important. When we think of kids who have disabilities or different ways of moving their bodies, they are at higher risk for obesity. Due to less availability or barriers from others in the community, it’s often harder for families to find resources to encourage physical activity in their kids with disabilities.
So what can we do? Starting small can make a big difference, even just getting out for a brisk walk can be helpful.
- Check out the National Center for Health, Physical Activity and Disability for great resources to get moving with disabilities, including a campaign to rebrand the word “walking” and remind us that movement doesn’t just happen on two feet—it happens with wheels, walkers, canes, crutches, orthotics and prosthetics!
- Visit our Children’s Therapy website Physical Therapy page for a variety of resources on both indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages and ability levels.
- Local resources are available for trails and parks through King County Parks and Recreation and the Washington Trails Association.
- Model physical activity and a healthy lifestyle (in big and small ways!) to your kids, as well as limit excessive screen time, to encourage children to be active as well.
By Jessica Mendoza, Physical Therapist