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A good prescription for kids health may be short duration strenuous exercise

Harold Mandel's picture
Strenuous exercise

Researchers say the metabolic and heart health of kids can be enhanced with just a little strenuous exercise.


Diabetes and heart disease have been becoming problems of epidemic proportions. These problems often begin in childhood due to sedentary lifestyles. Researchers say just a little vigorous exercise on a regular basis can help kids maintain better cardiac and metabolic health.

Just 10 minutes daily of high-intensity physical activity may help kids with their health

It has been reported by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center that just 10 minutes daily of high-intensity physical activity may assist help some kids in decreasing their risk of getting heart conditions and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Researchers observed that when kids get strenuous exercise instead of light-intensity physical exercise they generally gain significant cardiometabolic benefits. This positive effect of intense exercise was seen in kids with waist measurements which were relatively large and who had elevated insulin levels.

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The study’s lead author, Justin B. Moore, Ph.D., who is an associate professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, says it has been suggested by this research that substituting just a little strenuous physical activity for light exercise of longer duration may offer cardiometabolic benefits which exceed those benefits conveyed by moderate activity and the avoiding sedentary behavior.

A good "prescription" for kids to achieve or to maintain metabolic and cardiac health could turn out to be an intense short dose of physical activity

Moore has suggested that if further studies continue to support these findings a good "prescription" for kids to achieve or to maintain metabolic and cardiac health could turn out to be an intense dose of physical activity of relatively short duration. This could be for as little as 10 minutes daily which is possible for most kids.

These considerations may even have a dramatic effect on how well a child does in school. MedicalXpress reports that academic performance in boys may be impaired by a sedentary lifestyle. Research done at the University of Eastern Finland in collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Cambridge showed that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with poorer reading skills in the first three school years in boys between the ages of 6 and 8 years old.

There was an association seen between better reading skills in these kids and low levels of moderate-to-strenuous physical activity. Kids with low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary time had the worse reading skills. It is reasonable to assume moderate-to-vigorous exercise may also benefit the academic performance of girls. With the potential benefits of better metabolic and cardiac health and better school performance it seems wise to encourage kids to get at least some vigorous physical activity on a regular basis and to avoid sedentary lifestyles.