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Keeping kids healthy with an hour of play each day

Posted at 6:16 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 20:38:34-04

Are your kids getting an hour of active play each day? That's the recommendation from pediatricians, especially during this pandemic.

Dr. Derek Davenport from Revere Health's Eagle Mountain Clinic says for children right now, exercise is especially important. "For everyone, exercise helps lift our emotions, gets those natural endorphins going. It's great thing to do."

With many schools now online and recess and sports looking a lot different this school year, Davenport says kids need to be more active to better cope with the stress they're likely feeling. When kids participate in active play, "We notice that their mental health is better. They sleep better. They're able to focus in school better," Davenport said.

Dr. Davenport is a father of four children between the ages of 11 and 2, and he knows the challenges parents are facing all too well. With many schools being online, and less extracurricular activities available, kids are turning to things like video games and YouTube while being stuck inside.

"Playing a video game isn't a bad thing, but with moderation. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to less than an hour for kids," Davenport said.

That's why it's important to get kids to play outside. "There's walks. There's hiking, biking. Utah is the capitol of great outside activities, especially in the summer. And those have high ventilation areas and the wind that carries the droplets away, so you're less likely to get exposed to COVID-19," said Davenport.

Getting outside to play isn't just for kids. Many adults have been cooped up working from home or the office, with many of their typical activities restricted or canceled due to the pandemic. Dr. Davenport suggests, "Go out and be a kid. Play with them. Have fun. The more you're with them, the more you`re going to build these relationships and help mold them into the adults you want them to be."