Physical Exercise
   
 

Exercise and Keep Fit

Exercise Tips for Children and Adolescents

Edited by

Department of Sports Science and Physical Education

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Student Health Service Department of Health

Contents

  • Benefits of exercise
  • Rules of exercise
  • Different types of exercise
  • Home exercise programme
  • Sports injury
  • Roles of parents
  • Energy expenditure in various types of physical activities

Benefits of exercise

Dieting alone does not have a long lasting effect on weight reduction, unless complemented with regular physical exercise. Besides, exercise has a lot of other benefits.

  • Improve heart and lung function
  • Improve muscle strength and suppleness
  • Improve joint and muscle flexibility -> decrease the chance of injury
  • Enhance metabolism, consume heat energy, reduce accumulation of fat
  • Feel better, work better and cope better with stress
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Reduce the risk of developing heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes in future

Rules of exercise

  • Choose exercise that suit your age and ability
  • Be patience
  • Exercise with friends or family members
  • Let exercise become your hobbies
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily activities, e.g. brisk-walking, using the stairs, etc.

Different types of exercise

(A) Warm-up exercises

  • Warm up for about 10 minutes before vigorous exercise
  • Increase heart rate and body temperature, increase circulation
  • Increase alertness, enhance reaction
  • Increase the flexibility of joint, lower the risk for injury
  • Prepare your body for vigorous exercise ahead
  • Warm-up exercise can be divided into two catagories:
    • 1. Gentle exercise
    • 2. Stretching exercise

1. Gentle Exercise

  1. Straighten your arms and draw circles.
  2. Put your hands on your waist, lift your left and right foot alternately.
  3. Do steps, lifting your leg until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
  4. Jump and part your legs, straighten and raise both upper limbs, then jump and return to the original position.
  5. Straighten your arms backwards with knees slightly bent. Swing both arms forwards and jump.
  6. Stationary jogging for 10 times.

2. Stretching Exercise

These help to keep your body supple and minimize strains and sprains to your joints, muscles and ligaments.

Points to note:

  • Ensure a correct starting position and stretch gradually to the greatest extent. When you feel resistance in the muscle being stretched, stay in that position for 10 to 15 seconds, then relax gradually
  • Avoid jerky movements
  • Breathe naturally during stretching
  • Repeat each movement 2 to 3 times
  • Do stretching exercises 3 to 7 times a week

Preparation stance: stand with your legs apart (about the width of your shoulders)

  • (a) Stretching exercise for the head
          Put your hands on your waist, then:
    1. (1) Tilt your head to the left, count to 10. Return to the original position.
    2. (2) Tilt your head to the right, count to 10. Return to the original position.
    3. (3) Turn your head to the left, count to 10. Return to the original position.
    4. (4) Turn your head to the right, count to 10. Return to the original position.
  • (b) Stretching exercise for the upper limbs
    1. (1) Triceps
      Raise and straighten your right arm, put your left hand on the right elbow and pull it towards you. Count to 10. Repeat with the other arm.
    2. (2) Chest muscle
      Stand straight, put both arms behind your body and keep straight, lift up both arms slowly. Count to 10. Back to original posture.
  • (c) Stretching exercise for back and abdomen
          Put your hands on your waist, then:
    1. (1) Rotate your body to the left. Count to 10. Back to original posture.
    2. (2) Rotate your body to the right. Count to 10. Back to original posture.
    3. (3) Extend your right arm, lean your body to the left side. Count to 10. Back to original posture.
    4. (4) Extend your left arm, lean your body to the right side. Count to 10. Back to original posture.
    5. (5) Put your hands on your back and bend your body backwards. Count to 10. Back to original posture.
  • (d) Stretching exercise for the waist and the back
    1. (1) Lateral part of the waist
      • Exercise 1
        Stand with your legs slightly apart. Put your left arm on your left wrist, Raise your right arm. Bend your trunk to the left. Count to 10. Repeat with the other side.
      • Exercise 2
        Sit on the floor with right leg cross over the extended left leg. Turn the upper body to the right with the support of right hand. Count to 10. Repeat on the other side.
    2. (2) Back
      • Exercise 1
        Bend your knees and hold them towards your chest. Roll your body back and forth. Count to 10.
      • Exercise 2
        To lie prone on the floor with both knees bending and extend your arms. Count to 10.
  • (e) Stretching exercise for the lower limbs
    1. (1) Calf muscles
      • Face the wall with both hands pressed against the wall. Left foot step forward with the knee bend. Right foot slide backward and extend. Count to 10. Repeat on the other side.
    2. (2) Inner thigh muscles
      • Sit on the floor. Bend your knees with soles touching each other and both hands hold the feet. Count to 10.
    3. (3) Posterior thigh muscles
      • Sit on the floor, extend left leg and bend right leg, bend your body forward to the left leg. Count to 10. Repeat on other side.
    4. (4) Quadriceps
      • Lie on the right side with right arm supporting your head. Use your left hand to grasp your left feet. Count to 10. Repeat on other side.
  • (B) Aerobic exercises

    Oxidative metabolism provides main resource of energy for aerobic exercises with mild to moderate strength of main muscles activity which last for more than 5 minutes. It can strengthen cardiovascular function, improve body strength and especially effective on reducing the accumulation of body fat.

    Choose exercises that you really enjoy and suit your age and ability e.g. jogging,cycling, swimming, dancing and ball games

    The level of exercise is determined by the ideal range of heart rate which is calculated as follows:

    • Ideal range of heart rate = (50% of maximum reserved heart rate + heart rate at rest) to (85% of maximum reserved heart rate + heart rate at rest)
    • Maximum reserved heart rate =Maximum heart rate – heart rate at rest
    • Children and adolescents maximum heart rate = 200
    • Heart rate at rest can be measured after resting for 15 minutes
    • Children and adolescents fitness varies between individuals. You can constitute different training program, customize to your children’s needs according to the following stages.

    Physique varies between children and adolescents. You may plan an exercise training programme for your child with reference to the following:
    Training Programme can be divided into three stages :-

    • Starting Stage –
      1st week : 3 times per week, duration of exercise 12 minutes, 40 to 50% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise.
      2nd week : 3 times per week, duration of exercise 14 minutes, 50% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise.
      3rd week : 3 times per week, duration of exercise 16 minutes, 60% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise.
      4th week : 3 times per week, duration of exercise 18 minutes, 60 to 70% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise.
      5th week : 3 times per week, duration of exercise 20 minutes, 60 to 70% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise.
    • Training Stage –
      6 to 9th week : 3 to 4 times per week, duration of exercise 21 minutes, 70 to 80% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise.
      10th to 13th week : 3 to 4 times per week, duration of exercise 24 minutes, 70 to 80% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise.
      14th to 16th week : 3 to 4 times per week, duration of exercise 24 minutes, 70 to 80% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise
      17th to 19th week : 4 to 5 times per week, duration of exercise 28 minutes, 70 to 80% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise
      20th to 23th week : 4 to 5 times per week, duration of exercise 30 minutes, 70 to 80% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise
      24th to 27th week : 4 to 5 times per week, duration of exercise 30 minutes, 70 to 85% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise
    • Maintenance Stage –
      Above 28th week : 3 times per week, duration of exercise 30 to 45 minutes, 70 to 85% of maximum reserved heart rate of level of exercise
      *Apart from the exercise program mentioned above, children and adolescents should have at least 60 mins. of activity per day. They can achieve this by doing different exercise.

    (C) Muscle–training exercise

    Do not require additional equipment. Help to increase muscle strength and endurance. Points to note:

    • Do the exercise 3 times a week
    • Repeat each movement 10 to 25 times according to your physical ability
    • Do the whole series of movement 3 times

    Examples of muscle-training exercise

    1. Lower limbs
      • Stepping exercise
      • stand with your back against the wall with your knees slightly flexed as if you were sitting on a chair.
      • Kneel with your hands on the floor, then raise one leg with knees flexed at 90°. Repeat with the other leg.
    2. Back
      Lie in a prone position, then lift up both shoulders and arms
    3. Abdomen
      Sit-ups: Bend your knees, cross your arms in front of your chest and lift up your head and shoulders until the scapulars are not touching the floor
    4. Upper limbs
      Do push-ups with your knees on the floor. If you cannot do this movement, you may modify it by standing up and push against the wall with your hands

    (D) Cool-down exercises

    • Do after main exercise for about 10 minutes
    • Let the body and system cool down slowly
    • Enhance the blood supply to muscles, help to remove metabolic waste due to exercises in order to let muscles recover
    • Similar to warm-up exercises except that the speed and range of movements should be gradually decreased. It involves stationary jogging, walking, deep breathing and stretching exercise.

    Home Exercise Programme

    Example of home exercise programme : -

    • 1) In every Monday, Wednesday, Friday
      • Warm-up exercises / Stretching exercises 10 minutes
      • Aerobic exercises (help to train heart and lung functions) 20 to 30 minutes
      • Cool-down exercises 10 minutes
    • 2) In every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
      • Warm-up exercises / Stretching exercises 10 minutes
      • Muscles-training exercises 20 to 30 minutes
      • Cool-down exercises 10 minutes
    • 3) In every Sunday
      • Warm-up exercises 10 minutes
      • Exercises for training balance, eye-hand coordination and quick response 20 to 30 minutes.
        (Parents should encourage their child to participate in outdoor activities and non-competitive sports, such as dancing, skipping and cycling. This will prevent him/her from giving up too easily because of fear of failure. It would be better if parents also participate in these activities)
      • Cool-down exercises 10 minutes

    Sports Injury

    • 1. Common sports injuries in children and adolescents
      • Abrasions and bruises
      • Sprained joints
      • Heat stroke
      • Strains in muscles and ligaments
      • Backache
      • Head injury
      • Muscle cramps
    • 2. Safety tips
      • Consult your physician before sports training, especially if your child has a medical condition e.g. heart disease, asthma etc.
      • Parents’ or teachers’ guidance during exercise is important to ensure safety
      • Always warm up before doing exercise and cool down afterwards to lower the risk of strains and sprains
      • Wear appropriate and comfortable clothes and well-padded shoes which support the heels and arches of your feet
      • Take safety precautions e.g. wear helmets and knee protectors for cycling and life jackets for aquatic sports like canoeing, windsurfing etc.
      • Do not exercise immediately after a full meal
      • Beware of the weather and environmental conditions. Avoid doing vigorous exercises in extremely hot weather or high humidity
      • Whatever exercise you choose to do, proceed gradually and exercise regularly according to your own ability. Never expect too much progress after just a few times
      • Do not exercise when unwell or when suffering from an acute infection
      • Stop exercising and take a rest if you feel breathless or dizzy, or if you have nausea or vomiting
      • Do not perform dangerous movements which may harm yourself or others
    • 3. Management of sports injuries
      • Keep calm when an accident has occurred. Inform parents or teachers immediately
      • Parents and teachers should know some basic first-aid measures. They should also teach older children how to handle emergencies
      • Manage the wound properly to prevent further injuries e.g. clean wounds with clean water and cover them with dressing or bandage etc.
      • Seek medical attention whenever necessary

Roles of parents

During the growth of the children, their behaviours, habits and values are all directly influenced by their parents. To ensure a healthy development of the children, parents should set up a good model for their children to look up to. A good way to go is by activity participating different kinds of physical activities.

Notes to Parents

  • In order to have a good modeling effect on your child, you should actively participate in physical activities, and encourage your child to try various kinds of sports e.g. cycling, swimming, etc.
  • Exercise with your child for fun and support
  • Arrange outdoor activities for weekends or holidays e.g. hiking, picnicking, swimming
  • Join extra-curricular activities with your child
  • Share your child’s feelings and give appropriate advice

Energy expenditure in various Types of Physical Activities
In order to stay healthy, we must adopt a balanced diet and participate in regular exercises from an early age. To reduce the problem of obesity in children and adolescents, it is important to balance the gain and loss of calories from diet and exercise.

  • The unit for energy expenditure is kilocalorie or calorie
  • Energy expenditure differs in different activities. (See table below)
    e.g. For a child weighing 45kg, 30 minutes of skipping will bring about an energy expenditure of 0.162 kilocalories/min/kg x 30 minutes x 45kg = 219 kilocalories
Type of Activity Energy
expenditure
(kilocalories/min/kg)
Energy expended by a 45 kg child performing 30 minutes of this activity (kilocalories)
Sitting 0.021 28
Knitting, Sewing 0.023 31
Playing cards 0.023 31
Standing 0.028 38
Writing 0.030 41
Playing piano 0.040 54
Playing violin 0.047 63
Canoeing 0.047 63
Doing Housework 0.062 86
Gymnastics 0.064 86
Table-tennis 0.068 92
Walking 0.083 112
Bowling 0.094 127
Badminton 0.098 132
Tennis 0.109 147
Roller-skating 0.113 153
Freestyle swimming 0.128 173
Running on level ground (run round 4 football fields, equivalent to 1.6 kilometres in 11 minutes) 0.134 181
Basketball 0.138 186
Marching 0.143 193
Breaststroke swimming 0.162 219
Skipping 0.162 219
Running on level ground (run round 4 football fields, equivalent to 1.6 kilometres, in 9 minutes) 0.194 262
Judo 0.196 265
 
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