Doctors say exercise is important for kids even during 'shelter in place'

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Getting outside and playing has become a priority for many Valley families.

"I've definitely realized during this pandemic that they need to be outside more and I didn't realize that at school they're getting PE time, recess and lunchtime. All that matters for them," said Nicole Gough, a mother of two boys.

She and her neighbor and are quarantining together and taking precautions.

Experts say exercise is important right now.

"They need dedicated time away from screens, away from the house and out playing like kids do. So going on walks is very important and going on bike rides is really important. Even when you're indoors on hot days, some of the things you can do is board games," says Dr. Mitul Patel, a Kaiser Permanente pediatrician.

Dr. Patel advises you keep screen time under 2 hours a day.

Before heading outside, he says kids should wear sunblock and drink plenty of water..

Swimming is great, but he recommends an adult always keeps a watchful eye to prevent drownings.

Activities can have mental health benefits.

"Exercise is a great stress-reliever," Patel says.

Dr. Patel says if your child feels sick with a fever, cough, runny nose and diarrhea, they could be showing signs of the coronavirus.

He recommends people take precautions like physical distancing and masks when needed.

As for the Goughs, mom Nicole says she takes it one day at a time.

"We shouldn't be too hard on ourselves, that's for sure, because we're all trying to make it work and do the best we can," she says.

A healthy diet and sleep can also help your child feel their best during this unusual time.

So whether it's exercising outside or just talking a walk, experts say time spent together can help kids cope and stay active during the pandemic.
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