Get your kid together with others to encourage active play.
Keeping children active helps them manage their weight and sets them up for healthy habits later in life. A child who exercises regularly has improved circulation to the brain, increased endorphin levels to combat stress, enhanced mood and attitude and a calmer demeanor, explains the University of Michigan. The CDC reports that children's physical fitness levels are linked to school performance, indicating that activity has benefits far beyond physical health.
Aim for an Hour
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges at least 60 minutes of daily exercise for children and adolescents. This totals 420 minutes weekly of combined aerobic and muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening routines. Don't count on your child's school to provide this amount of exercise, however. Although the CDC reports the number of elementary school districts that require physical education to be part of the curriculum increased from 83 percent in 2000 to 94 percent in 2012, children still may not get enough exercise. As of 2007, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that just 3.8 percent of elementary schools and 7.9 percent of middle schools provided daily physical education amounting to 150 minutes per week of physical activity.
Get Up and Moving
Your 11-year-old doesn't have to slog away on the elliptical for an hour daily. It may be novel at first for her, but overtime, she'll grow bored like most exercisers. Instead, let your 11-year-old associate exercise with doing physical activities she thinks are fun. Playing a sport such as basketball or tennis, even non-competitively, helps her get her 60 minutes per day. Exercise doesn't have to be formal either - every time your 11-year-old rides her bike or walks to school or straps on a pair of skates, she's getting some cardio. In the summer, head to the pool and encourage friendly games rather than lying on a floatie. If you have a daughter passionate about animals, have her walk the neighbor's dog or put her in horseback riding lessons. The best way to encourage your child to do cardiovascular activity is to not make it a chore. After all, it has to compete with computer games and television.
Add Some Strengthening
Strength-training exercises should be part of an 11-year-old's fitness routine. Although lifting weights is one way to do this, it isn't the only one. Calisthenics, such as push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups, help build muscular strength. If you get your child involved in martial arts, these calisthenic moves will become part of her weekly routine. Yoga, climbing trees and playing on a playground also promote muscle strength. Kids often naturally gravitate towards these activities when given the opportunity, so expose them to the outdoors and community playgrounds or challenge them to a push-up contest, for example. Three times per week is plenty for these strengthening moves, says the Centers for Disease Control.
Benefit the Bones
Your child's bones are growing and building density. The stress of exercise helps encourage healthy development of the skeletal system. The best methods to build bone density in an 11-year-old are high-impact activities, such as running and jumping. These count as part of the 420 minutes per week of activity. Jumping that they do during sports training or while out on the playground also counts. Encourage these high-impact movements three times a week.