Valentine Gift Ideas for the Fitness Fanatic

If you are like us, you may have put on a few pounds during the past year and a half. Covid did a lot of damage to many people’s health, waistlines included. Now that we are starting to move toward normalcy, it might be a good time to start to get your body back. After all, the better you look, the better you feel- and the better you feel, the better you will look. It’s a win-win. You know how active we are here, and we are looking forward to getting back to ourselves as much as anyone.

Here are some items that can help you get back on track!


Whirly Board – Balance Board
Whirly Board is the most versatile gift to give your favorite fitness lover (or get one for yourself). Use it at home or while working out, it’s perfect for board sports training or yoga. Keep moving for better overall health! It has 500+ positive reviews on Amazon, so a lot of people are having fun with this one. My husband in particular likes it.  Add a little fitness, agility, and fun to your routine with Whirly Board. The Whirly Board allows you to spin 360˚ and engage all your body’s core muscles, so it is an excellent training tool for any skill level (even kids). It’s a fun addition for your home or gym. Whirly Board is a great option for core training and home fitness without the need for bulky gym equipment that takes up tons of space. An indoor training tool, it improves strength, balance, and agility. Practice spin and tricks and take your twirl to a whole new level.
hot cold bottle
Price: $29.95
This is one heavy bottle, let me tell you! Use it as a weapon if you’re ever backed into a corner, haha. Keep your fitness enthusiast hydrated through whatever they do with The BOULDER. The BOULDER vacuum insulated water bottle is the flagship bottle of EcoVessel that will keep your drinks hot or cold all day long. Made from premium 18/8 stainless steel, it features the signature TriMax® triple insulation and keeps drinks cold up to 60 hours and hot up to 12 hours. The BOULDER stainless steel water bottle also includes a removable strainer for tea, fruit, and ice cubes, which is pretty handy for tea drinkers (or those of us with sensitive teeth- no more ice cube smacking you in the mouth). Available on Amazon
phone charger
Also sold on BestBuy
My husband has loves this, and it was great to have around during the recent storm. We lost power for 20 hours, and it held a charge super well. We’ve also taken it out hiking, and John goes long distance running on weekends- it’s never had an issue with the rain or snow or any other weather, and he’s definitely dropped it more than once. No problems as of writing this.
For the past five years, Poseidon has built a reputation for being the best portable charger on the market. Introducing the new Poseidon Pro by Dark Energy, an upgraded portable charging system that is fully waterproof (IP68), drop-proof, and crushproof, and is certified to military standard MIL-STD 810G. Recently upgraded to add more advanced tech enhancements, you can’t go wrong with this handy device by your side and never be stranded without power again (even in the extreme cold).
ice pack
Price: $34.95
I’ve got to say, this was hard to wear on your wrist. It was bulky and made it hard to move your hands, as well as didn’t keep the ice/gel pack on the wrist well. Not on my hand, nor on my husband’s. However, when you take the gel pack and put it in your bra- it’s the perfect size, and was instantly cooling. I’m not joking, it was great, and it fit great on the pressure point between your breasts. Guys….well, can’t help you on that one, not sure how you’d keep it there. It also worked if you put the gel pack on your wraparound headband if you have one, right at the back at the point where your neck meets your head. Temples, too. The ice gel packs were the perfect size for so many spots that cooled your down- However, this is off topic.
As for the cuff, here is the info via the company- it is available on Amazon, and a Veteran-Owned Business, made in the USA.
The Cooling Cuff is solely focused on helping your body cool down properly. Wear it on your wrist for the optimal place to cool down during or after a workout. Cooling the body at the wrist can alter thermoregulation, rapidly lower core body temperature and quickly restore temperature homeostasis. That means athletes can train longer, run faster and recover quicker without their bodies using all their energy to cool down.
Price: $21.95
Sold on Target ($19.99)
These are super useful. Easy to clean, store, and durable, you will find a million reasons to use them. As with a traditional bento box, these divided to-go containers from U-Konserve are easy to separate food and great for portion control. Perfect waste-free solution for daily lunches, takeout, picnics, travel, outdoor adventures, bulk shopping and salad bars. Pack snacks, lunches and main meals while reducing single-use packaging. These square containers are also ideal for kitchen organization, pantry makeovers, meal prep and family leftovers. I also use them for my friend’s daughter when she comes over to eat, who doesn’t like her food to touch. The barrier in the middle keeps them separate, and that keeps us all sane, LOL.
packable luggage
Super useful, and the price is right at $23. Ever been on a trip, and you accidentally buy too many souvenirs? or when you try to repack your bag with the dirty laundry, it just doesn’t fit properly? This will be a lifesaver, I literally do not travel without one anymore- you just never know when you will need it! This bag (an in my past, bags like it) take up no room really in your luggage, but are big on value when you find yourself up a creek, LOL.
Of course, you can just use it as a normal duffle bag in the meantime.
Whether it be a trip to the gym or an outdoor adventure, the 22 L Nomad Packable Duffel allows you to take what you need and more- it’s very roomy. Constructed from durable reinforced nylon, it stuffs into its own pocket so you can travel with it easily. When it’s time to stash it, turn the interior pocket inside out. Then stuff the entire duffel into the pocket, and zip it closed. (It’s as shockingly easy as it sounds, really.)

#WIN Naked Nutrition- all natural protein powders #GetNaked

protein powder

Naked Nutrition is an all-natural protein powders for health conscious people, using only the purest raw ingredients. You can choose from the whey protein or the newly launched keto fat bomb supplement.

About Naked Nutrition-

“From Grass-Fed Whey Protein to Pea Protein Powder to Organic Brown Rice Protein Powder, Naked Nutrition provides the purest supplements. Our proteins are loaded with essential amino acids and no artificial sweeteners or colors. Our commitment to offering the best protein powders and supplements extends to all our products including Powdered Peanut Butter, Casein Protein, Creatine Monohydrate and more. No additives means your body gets more of what it needs and not what big agribusinesses use to pad their bottom line. Take your nutrition to the next level with Naked Nutrition.”

weight loss powder

You can win to try it out for yourself. Feel free to enter using the RC below by stating the type (edit- NOT flavor- the type) of mix you’d like to try. Good luck! Ends June 18, 2020.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How Cycling Can Help Your Health and the Environment

Cycling is one of the favorite leisure activities and sport of over 47.5 million Americans. It isn’t any wonder why. Aside from being genuinely enjoyable to do, cycling also offers many benefits to the body, mind, and environment. Moreover, the more and longer you cycle, the better it is for your health and the planet.

If you don’t know how to ride a bike or you don’t cycle, maybe these reasons can convince you to learn and start cycling now.

Health Benefits of Cycling

Cycling is inarguably one of the healthiest hobbies you can start. If you’re not a fan of hitting the gym or exercise in general, going for a ride on a bike is a more enjoyable way of getting your daily dose of physical activity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting “at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity” each week. 

Riding slower than 10 miles per hour on smooth terrain on your bike for 30 minutes a day is enough to meet the recommended dose of physical activity per week.

As an aerobic exercise, cycling also helps boost cardiovascular health, reducing your risk of heart disease. In addition, it puts little to no harmful stress on the body, making it a low-impact workout.

Regular cycling also helps improve balance and muscle strength, decrease the risk of high blood pressure and osteoporosis, and manage diabetes and high cholesterol. 

For those who are trying to lose weight, hopping on a bike and going for a ride can help shed off those extra pounds. To start burning fat, you must ride at a pace that will raise your heart rate between 70 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

You can monitor your heart rate using a fitness tracker or heart-rate monitor. Many cyclists use the device with other cycling training tools, like a power meter and bike computer, to get an accurate reading and reliable insight on every ride. If you want to get more out of every journey, consider getting cycling gadgets to aid your training.

Cycling also has a positive impact on your mental health. The psychological benefits include reduced risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Simply going out and engaging in a physical activity like cycling can boost the mood and relieve stress. 

Environmental Benefits of Cycling

A small car, which uses 68 gallons of gasoline, emits approximately 0.7 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Meanwhile, an SUV, which uses 170 gallons of gas, can produce up to 1.9 tons of CO2.

The United States, being a car-driving nation, has over 268.8 million automobiles, which account for 40 percent of oil used in the country. In terms of environmental impact, automobiles produce 20 percent of the carbon emissions in the entire United States. The number does not even take into account the carbon footprint of mining materials and manufacturing a car.

According to research by Rails to Trails Conservancy, if people rode bikes or walked for some of the shortest car trips, it would save around 2.4 to 5 billion gallons of fuel a year. This will keep 21 to 45 million tons of CO2 from being released in the atmosphere.

Commuting by bike also helps reduce air pollutants as bicycles do not emit greenhouse gases (GHG) and they decrease noise pollution and congestion. If more people rode bicycles, there will be a lesser need for parking lots and roadways, saving precious green spaces from development.

Riding a bike also cuts down your own ecological footprint, or how much natural resources it will take to support your lifestyle, as defined by the Global Footprint Network.

Want to know your ecological footprint? Use this footprint calculator to find out.

More Reasons to Ride a Bike Every Day

Aside from the health and environmental benefits, riding a bike every day also offers economic advantages. Commuting by bicycle saves time because you won’t get stuck in traffic jams. If more people take a bike to work or anywhere, it will significantly reduce congestion too. 

A bicycle doesn’t need fuel to run, and it costs less to maintain than a car. In 2015, owning a midsize sedan would cost you $8,600, and driving an SUV would cost $10,250 a year. On the other hand, a bike would only cost you $300. 

The new Bike Commuter Act of 2019 will also give bike commuters a $53 tax break every month. Going on two wheels is not only healthier and better for the planet, but it’s also much more practical and cost-effective.

5 Tips for Family Physical Fitness You Have to Try


Getting into physical fitness is hard work, but it is also excellent for your health and will lead to a better quality of life. You might be surprised by how well you feel after you try these 5 things – and if you involve the family, you can have fun together. 

1). Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding 

If you like fitness, fun, and a chance to experience nature out on the open water, stand up paddle boarding is probably the perfect water sport for you and for your family. It’s easy enough to describe, at least in terms of the basic concept: you stand on a board, a paddle board that is longer than your typical surfboard, and use an oar to paddle.

Stand up paddle boarding is more beginner-friendly than surfing, because the idea is to paddle on calm waters rather than catch a wave in rough waters. There’s no reason this sport can’t be fun for the whole family: even surfing can be kid-friendly, and stand up paddle boarding is easier to get kids into than surfing.

Of course, working the oar is also very fitness-promoting. You burn calories and build muscle in your arms and in your core. 

While you might not think of fall and winter as the ideal time to get into a water sport, it’s the perfect time to grab a paddle board by taking advantage of Paddle Board Direct’s black Friday deals.

2). Try Yoga

Ah, yoga: what other fitness-promoting activity is so relaxing? Yoga is wonderful for increased flexibility, better muscle strength and tone, better breathing, more balanced metabolism, cardiovascular and circulatory health, and yes, weight reduction. 

Yoga also has mental health benefits. If you’ve been struggling with anxiety, stress, and/or other mental health issues, yoga may be exactly what you need to clear your mind and help you experience inner peace, balance, and stability. 

Of course, yoga is also the perfect thing to try with your family. You may find it helps rambunctious youngsters to calm down, and older children will likely appreciate the greater flexibility and the feelings of well-being that you get after stretching. 

There are also many options for learning yoga. We’ve talked before about how you can promote your fitness with online yoga, and that may well be one of the best ways to learn. 

3). Try Basic Bodyweight & Cardio Exercises 

Sometimes the adage “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” is apropos, and one could argue that in fitness it is especially applicable to basic bodyweight and cardio exercises. 

If you think about it, it doesn’t get much better than lunges, pushups, and squats. Lunges promote functional movement and leg and glute strength. Pushups promote strength and stamina in numerous muscle groups. 

Squats are excellent for promoting lower body and core strength, as well as flexibility in the lower back and hips – and because of the way they engage some of the body’s largest muscles, they are particularly good at burning calories. 

The whole family can benefit from these kinds of workouts, particularly because they aren’t that difficult to learn, but can be improved upon over time. 

4). Try Hiking

It’s hard to beat a simple hike for value: all you need is a good pair of shoes and a place to go that will be reasonably interesting and worthwhile to walk in. This may sometimes mean driving away from the home if you don’t live somewhere that is close enough to a good hiking trail.

Even many neighborhoods may have good places to take a hike, in the form of sidewalks and parks. If you’re doing a family hike, this may be a good place to start, especially with smaller children, but don’t stop there.

Over time and as you are able, you can take the family on hikes that are more challenging. You might try trails out in nature, in state or national parks. 

5). Backpacking

If you’re into hiking, backpacking is the next logical thing to try. In essence, backpacking is simply hiking with the addition of sufficient supplies to allow you to extend your hike and turn it into a camping trip.

Common backpacking gear includes sleeping bags, probably a tent, sufficient clothing – you will want to dress for the weather, night and day – and utensils and a camp stove, provisions – think dehydrated food, and water as well as a water filtration device with purification tablets. 

As the above non-exhaustive list indicates, backpacking does take some gear and some careful preparation, but if you don’t mind the investment of time and care it can be an incredible experience for the whole family.


Whether you’re doing yoga in your living room or stand up paddle boarding on a lake or river near you, promoting physical fitness can be a tremendous amount of fun as well as something that you can involve the whole family with. Hopefully these 5 tips have given you plenty of ideas about where to start.  


Flying with Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a common issue among adults, and the symptoms that go hand in hand with vein disorders can be grueling to deal with each day. Varicose veins are most often characterised by the bulging, darkened, or twisted veins that are noticeable beneath the skin’s surface. Not only are they a cosmetic concern for many people, but varicose veins also cause pain and discomfort, ranging from mild to severe. 

Living with varicose veins may mean managing swelling and itching at or around the varicose vein site, heaviness in the legs or feet, or aching that does not subside easily. Although these issues can be handled while at home or work, there may be more significant concerns for those flying with varicose veins. It is essential to understand the dangers of flying as it relates to varicose veins and the steps you can take to prevent issues in the air. 

The Dangers of Flying with Vein Issues

According to a vein specialist at Radiance Varicose Vein Clinic, the dangers of flying with varicose veins are mostly connected to why varicose veins occur in the first place. When valve failure takes place within the veins of the legs, blood pools in the body instead of flowing back to the heart as it is meant to do. This creates vein wall breakdown, leading to the swelling and bulging often seen with varicose veins. When taking flight, the change in cabin pressure may result in adverse effects on individuals with varicose veins, connected to the potential for a blood clot. 

For those who have been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis or DVT, flying with varicose veins may be far more dangerous than when broken vein walls are the only issue at hand. This is because DVT is a condition where blood clots form deep within the veins of the legs. The change in pressure on a flight could cause a blood clot to dislodge and move to other areas of the body, such as the heart of the lungs. Devastating outcomes may result, including a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism. 

Having varicose veins does not mean one also has DVT, but the combination of these conditions could mean trouble with flying. Varicose veins may form clots in the legs because blood is not flowing correctly throughout the body, and flying increases the risk of a clot moving elsewhere. To ensure you are safe while in the air, with DVT, varicose veins, or both, consult a doctor first. If they give the green light for traveling by plane, consider taking extra precaution by following the steps below.

Tips for Flying Safely

If you are at risk for DVT or have varicose veins, flying may be both stressful and uncomfortable. One of the simplest steps to take to reduce the chances of complications with varicose veins is to pack compression stockings for the trip. Compression stockings are knee-length socks and add gentle pressure to the legs and ankles, intended to boost blood flow during idle periods. Wearing compression stockings on a flight that is more than a few hours long can help improve circulation while seated. 

In addition to compression stockings, experts suggest getting up and moving around during a flight when possible. Planning to stretch the legs and walk up and down the aisle every half hour to an hour keeps the blood flowing, especially on a long journey. 

The Need for Treatment

Flying with varicose veins is not inherently dangerous, but if you are also at risk for DVT, certain precautions need to be taken to keep yourself safe and healthy. Compression stockings and scheduled breaks for walking and stretching at the best tools to have at your disposal. It is also recommended to discuss with your doctor ways to minimise the potential complications of varicose veins while traveling, before hitting the skies. 

However, it is just as crucial to consider treatment options that reduce varicose vein symptoms or eliminate varicose veins altogether moving forward. Several treatment options exist, including non- and minimally-invasive solutions, so know that there are choices for managing varicose veins in a more permanent way. 

Breakaway from lethargy: How to make healthy choices one-at-a-time

Our days seem to get busier by the second. Juggling work, family and social life sometimes do not leave time for anything else. It becomes challenging to incorporate health into a busy lifestyle.


Everybody does not have the time to go to the gym every day or take fitness classes. However, you don’t have to take out time to get fit. Small efforts go a long way. A few healthy choices can make a significant difference in your fitness level.


Here are ways to break away from lethargy by making healthy choices one at a time:


Pack a fruit:

The next you feel tempted to reach for a cookie, eat the fruit instead. This practice’s advantages are two-fold. The first advantage is that you avoid food that is full of sugar. The second is you incorporate fresh fruit into your diet.


Once eating fruit is routine, it can very well be transformed into lunch. There are several ways to do this. A popular option is to combine them with oats that have been soaked overnight. But you can also simply cut fruits and sprinkle salt (sometimes honey as well) and enjoy an easy but nutritious meal.  


Make your water intake exciting:

It is crucial to maintain an optimal level of water in our bodies. Most of the time, we do not realise that we are dehydrated. This is because many people do not drink water until they feel thirsty. While thirst is a good indicator of our water needs, it is not enough.


A refreshing way to increase your water intake is by consuming beverages. Use this method- have water when you feel thirsty and a water-based drink whenever you feel like it! In summers, opt for beverages such as iced teas and fresh juices and in winters, switch to teas such as green and chamomile tea. There are a variety of drinks available in the market, and many such as green tea carry additional health benefits.  


Additionally, you can increase your intake of food with high water content. Cucumbers and watermelons are easily available and make for tasty, yet healthy snacks.


Bid goodbye to the blue light:

Sleep is a crucial factor in determining our health. Disturbed sleep leads to high levels of lethargy, blood pressure and heart disease risk. Irregular sleep levels eventually lead to memory problems and a weak immune system function. By bidding goodbye to your phone, laptop and any other screen two hours before your sleep time, your eyes have no exposure to the blue light emitted by them. These blue lights disrupt sleep quality by readjusting our body’s circadian rhythm ( the body’s internal clock).


Walk to work:

This is possibly one of the easiest yet most efficient ways to make a change for the better. Regular walking has several benefits, such as lower blood pressure and better muscle endurance. Walking to walk is a small and simple way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. To make the walk truly enjoyable, do not walk hastily but take your time looking at the surroundings. This makes walking not a dreaded task but something you can look forward to every day.


Once, you are accustomed to walking for long periods. You can try trekking at scenic locations.  It is truly exhilarating to reach the top and sometimes even catch a glorious sunrise. Trekking is a great way to build stamina and have fun at the same time. However, trekking is not always as strenuous as it is thought to be. There are plenty of short and simple treks that are suitable for beginners. Carry the best pocket knife to make your trek a breeze.


Spend time with your family and friends:

This may be an unconventional addition to the list; however, spending time with our loved ones is an excellent way to make a healthy choice without even knowing it. Meeting family and friends often strengthens personal relationships. Social interaction promotes a longer lifespan and has shown to decrease the health risks associated with hypertension and heart disease. A healthy support system has also been linked to better recovery.


While sitting in a pub sipping chilled beer and watching a football match can be a great activity to relax once in a while. It is better to not indulge in alcohol every time you meet them. Replace regular drinking sessions and try playing a friendly game or even camping at the weekends instead. These are fun alternatives to spend time with each other.


Great Gifts for an Active Mom

This time of year, I’m always seeing lists about the best gifts for mom. See, I’m even making one. But the truth is, not all moms are alike, and you know best your mom’s personality. A “makeup and jewelry” kind of mom? Flowers, chocolate? Maybe she wants to sleep in and get a massage. (Hint, that’s pretty much everyone, all the time.) Some of that stuff can be sort of a “cop-out”, just going through the motions. Your mom did (and likely still does) a lot for you- make her feel special on days meant to celebrate her. (Dads, if you have very young kids, you are in charge here. Do something besides that macaroni necklace they made in school, yeah?)

As an active mom myself, and one that wears pretty much zero makeup or fussy things like that, I wouldn’t personally love a bottle of perfume or nail polish. I also try to be as eco-friendly as possible, and my family knows that’s important to me. I’m guessing to a lot of other moms out there as well.

Since many “idea” lists focus on candy and makeup, we here at Parents@Play thought there should be one with other options out there. This list is for the active mom, eco friendly mom, who is a little less traditional, but pretty cool in her own rights.

Sand Cloud, an environmentally aware company that donates %10 of it’s profits to #SaveTheFishes (help protect and preserve marine life) offers a wide array of items that are sustainable, adorable, and environmentally friendly. From super useful items mom will love like reusable glass bottles with beautiful and fun designs on them to metal straws that you can take anywhere (avoid those unnecessary plastic ones that end up in the nostrils of poor sea turtles and washed up on beaches), soft towels with lovely artwork, or organic tees and tanks, there is something your earth conscious mom will love.  These items are not only beautiful, but useful. In addition, a percentage from each purchase is given to a charity- I can’t think of a mother that wouldn’t be pleased that Mother Earth is also gifted on this special day.  Visit to see their collections, and pick out a perfect gift for the moms in your life.

reusable bottle

Yoga lover? Me too, we hit the mat almost daily, it is one of the best ways to center yourself and have a few minutes of peace. It’s fantastic for both mind and body, and if you haven’t yet tried it out, there’s always today. The hype is there for a reason. It’s good stuff. Slightly Buddha is a yoga company for yoga lovers, by yoga lovers. The items on the site are simple, pretty, and express the ideas of living a zen lifestyle. They make, as they describe them, “well made, cute clothes” that offer value to the customer. As the owner describes the collection, “Slightly Buddha is a manifestation of my love for yoga, art and clothes.”  The clothing is soft and comfortable. Pay attention to sizing, as I find that they don’t run typically. Some say that they run large, so you will get the “heads up”, so to speak. Others don’t mention, but you can tell that they run slim. Joggers, for example, are less loose then any others I’ve had, and fit more like leggings, which you can see in the photos. They are perfect for a yoga class, however, so that may be why the design is different. The tanks are also a slim fit, but are a nice feel. Pay attention to the photos and the reviews, they are honest and helpful.  Visit to see what strikes you- your mom will love the graceful designs that are easy to mix and match, and go from the studio to the couch to errand running and beyond.

yoga gear

Title Nine has everything the active woman needs, from running gear to swimwear to undergarments and more. Dresses that move with you, skirts that shake the rain off, leggings that actually stay in place. I can’t say enough good things about the company, which is run by amazing women for women, so they know what women want and need. It may be unseemly to talk about getting mom a bra for Mother’s Day, so maybe choose an awesome dress or sweater, and give her a gift card so she can choose her own, because these will be the only ones she will want from then on. I recently tried out the Roadster Convertible Underwire Bra and the Cuz She Say’s So Underwire Bra and I have to say, I’m in love. The :Roadster” in particular has become my “go to”- if it’s clean, I’m wearing it. Comfortable and keeping everything where it needs to be, even during vigorous workouts, this is the one to beat in my opinion. The “Cuz She Said So” was also comfortable and preformed well, but it was hard to compare to the “Roadster”.  The company is so passionate about their bras, they even have a program to help get them to girls in underprivileged communities. They know it’s hard to preform your best when you are being hindered- and that’s pretty cool. They do a lot of good work in the community. They even use “real life” models, who have regular jobs and live “regular” lives, no retouching the already impossible to achieve looks of supermodels here, and I love that. This company is all about celebrating women, and any mom would love that. Visit and see what mom would appreciate.


Looking for something pretty? Mountain Khakis puts a modern spin on classics, and the clothing is built to last. This company builds tough clothing that’s still pretty and soft to wear. You can find classic styles mom loves, which are durable and have the highest quality craftsmanship. A brand you can rely on not to fall apart on you. Not only that, but they are a company that cares, being Fair Trade Certified, members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and are organic and biodegradable, using only products and production methods that are safe, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. You can be tough and rugged and still look beautiful at the same time- all this while being environmentally responsible. Great gift options, take a look at to see what strikes your fancy.

New Study: 19 out of 20 U.S. Children NOT Meeting Norms for Exercise, Sleep, and Screen Time Usage

Have Sippy Will Travel

There was a new study released that says 19 out of 20 children are NOT meeting guidelines for sleep, exercise, and screen time amounts that doctors recommend  just one in 20 U.S. children and teens gets the amount of sleep, exercise and screen time that doctors recommend for optimal health, a new study suggests.

Children and teens are supposed to get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day and limit screen time to less than two hours. Kids ages 6 to 12 old also need 9 to 12 hours of sleep, while teens need 8 to 10 hours nightly.

Too little sleep or exercise, or too much screen time, can increase their risk of chronic health problems. These include obesity, mental health issues like anxiety and depression, poor academic achievement and unhealthy behaviors like smoking and drinking, the study team notes in JAMA Pediatrics.

Taken in isolation, these recommendations have been hard for many children and teens to achieve and doctors have long been aware of this problem, said lead study author Gregory Knell of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

“Our study, however, analyzed the prevalence of meeting ALL three of these recommendations simultaneously,” Knell said by email. “This is important because there is evidence that not spending the optimal time in all three behaviors has a stronger effect on health outcomes than not spending the optimal time in any one of the behaviors, independently.”

For the study, researchers examined data on 59,397 kids and teens who participated in nationwide surveys in 2011, 2013, 2015 or 2017.

Overall, just 3 percent of girls and 7 percent of boys spent the optimal time sleeping and being physically active while limiting screen time.

Compared to participants age 14 or younger, 16-year-olds were 23 percent less likely to get the right amounts of sleep, exercise and screen time, while 17-year-olds had 46 percent lower odds.

Non-white youth were also less likely than white counterparts to achieve all three goals: black children and teens had 69 percent lower odds; Asian young people had a 63 percent lower chance, and Hispanic youth had a 33 percent lower likelihood.

Obese youth were 43 percent less likely to meet all three targets than children at a healthy weight, while overweight kids were 20 percent less likely to manage this.

The study wasn’t designed to examine why young people fail to get enough sleep or exercise, or why they spend too much time staring at screens. And, it’s also not clear from the study whether the failure to meet all three targets was due to missing just one recommendation or all of them.

“Lack of physical activity, increased screen time and insufficient sleep increases the risk for weight gain and obesity,” said James Gangwisch, a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Likewise, if someone is already overweight, then it could make it more difficult to exercise vigorously,” Gangwisch said by email. “Lack of adequate physical activity also makes it harder to get sufficient sleep.”

The study also was not designed to prove whether or how failing to meet all three targets might directly impact physical or mental health.

Still, the results suggest that many parents have more work to do to encourage kids to get enough rest and exercise and spend less time staring at screens, said Asheley Skinner, a researcher at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Schools may also be part of the problem, because they start too early to allow teens to get enough sleep, Skinner said by email.

“Sleep and physical activity are two pillars that should not be sacrificed in childhood,” said Jonathan Mitchell of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.

“Too often sleep is sacrificed to accommodate other activities,” Mitchell, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Parents and teens need to think more carefully about daily routines that allow for sufficient physical activity and nighttime sleep – cutting out screen time and setting bedtimes can help.”

SOURCE: JAMA Pediatrics, online February 4, 2019.