Summertime Equals Fitness Loss
Activities for Kids
By building on simple activities kids enjoy, you can help your child stay fit all year long.
Learn easy steps to build healthy habits with the Kids Activity Pyramid (pdf).
Spotlight on Pediatric Fitness
UW Health's Pediatric Fitness experts offer ways to help your whole family stay fit including tips for making healthy lifestyle choices, nutrition and exercise.
Dr. Aaron Carrel talks about summertime fitness loss in kids
The study focused on a group of middle schoolers at Riverside Bluff Middle School in Stoughton. The youngsters participated in a year-long lifestyle-based physical education class that emphasized nontraditional activities like biking and walking.
At the beginning and end of the school year, Dr. Carrel and his colleagues at the Pediatric Fitness Clinic measured the fasting insulin levels, maximum oxygen consumption and body composition of the middle-schoolers.
Which may have been part of the problem, says Randy Clark, who manages the exercise science lab at UW Health Sports Medicine. With the easy entertainment offered by TV, videogames and the Internet, today's youth may not be as skilled at finding spontaneous ways to stay active.
"The results are almost inconceivable to someone from my generation," he says. "We lived outside, played capture the flag, kick the can and wiffle ball until it was too dark to see. In fact, I can remember coming in for dinner and sitting on the edge of my chair the whole time. I could not wait to be excused because I wanted to get back out to the action and play with my friends."
Dr. Carrel and Clark recommend that parents become more involved in helping their children stay fit—not just in the summer, but year-round—by role-modeling an active lifestyle and exercising/playing with their kids.
Date Published: 07/16/2009