Sport Solutions

By Dr Demei Chen from Renai Hospital (International Department) 2019-05-23 16:53:09

Useful advice about exercise for kids in Shanghai

Parents will always be concerned about the amount of Physical Education their children are doing at school. Living in a city like Shanghai with limited outdoor space we often are faced with the obstacle as parents of keeping our children physically fit.

Ideally how much exercise should young children be getting per day?

Dr. Chen: If children are still growing then it could lead to arrested development. It also could lead to muscle or joint sprains if they attempt to do highly intense sports. So it has to be moderate and within their competency. Also, the exercise time shouldn’t be too long and ideally the physical exercise is used to help warm up the body. Essentially parents need to decide on the right exercise for their child's indivdual needs.

Furthermore, before taking part in exercises, it is recommended that your child is sufficiently rested. If they experience any adverse reactions like dizziness, nausea or reduced appetite occurs, then be prepared to adjust the intensity of exercise that your child does.

Are there certain sports that are better for children than others?

Dr. Chen: Yes, the current obsession with the virtual world can harm a child's sleeping pattern, affect attention and even damage vision. Parents need to set up rules for their child, like monitoring their time spent online and try to encourage them to take up healthy alternatives.

Considering the occasionally poor AQI of Shanghai, what exercises can you suggest for families to do together indoors to keep fit?

Dr. Chen: Dancing, jump rope and hula hoop are good indoor sports for young children. However if a child should experience any symptoms like pain, dizziness or fatigue, then stop immediately and take some rest.

Are there any sports you wouldn’t recommend for children under the age of six? And, if so why?

Dr. Chen: Firstly, long-distance running is not appropriate for young children as it will thicken myocardial wall and causes dilated cardiomyopathy, thereby affecting the development of cardiopulmonary function, resulting in the malnutrition and slower growth of bone cells.

The second sport children mustn’t do is arm wrestling, which is prone to soft tissue injuries. Thirdly, participating in trampolining, children can easily get their muscles, ligaments, bones and connective tissues sprained or bruised due to the immaturity and fragility. The sudden shock of impact can cause a host of injuries and parents should be aware of the risk particularly with children who are still growing.

Dr Chen Demai
Head of Pediatric Department , Pediatrician, Chief Physician. Dr. Chen graduated from Tongji Medical University and has over 30 years of clinical experience. She did further studies at Beijing Pediatric Hospital.