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Making Physical Activity a Part of a Child’s Life

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day. 

This may sound like a lot, but don’t worry! Your child may already be meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. And, you’ll soon discover all the easy and enjoyable ways to help your child meet the recommendations. Encourage your child to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety! Just make sure your child or adolescent is doing three types of physical activity:

child scooter1 Making Physical Activity a Part of a Childs Life1. Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activity should make up most of your child’s 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week.

child sit ups1 Making Physical Activity a Part of a Childs Life2. Muscle Strengthening

Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes.

 

child soccer1 Making Physical Activity a Part of a Childs Life3. Bone Strengthening

 Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes. 

 

How is it possible for my child to meet the Guidelines?

Many physical activities fall under more than one type of activity. This makes it possible for your child to do two or even three types of physical activity in one day! For example, if your daughter is on a basketball team and practices with her teammates everyday, she is not only doing vigorous-intensity aerobic activity but also bone-strengthening. Or, if your daughter takes gymnastics lessons, she is not only doing vigorous-intensity aerobic activity but also muscle- and bone-strengthening! It’s easy to fit each type of activity into your child’s schedule – all it takes is being familiar with the Guidelines and finding activities that your child enjoys.

What can I do to get – and keep – my child active?

As a parent, you can help shape your child’s attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity, and knowing these guidelines is a great place to start. Throughout their lives, encourage young people to be physically active for one hour or more each day, with activities ranging from informal, active play to organized sports. Here are some ways you can do this:child boy jungle gym1 Making Physical Activity a Part of a Childs Life

  • Set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle yourself.
  • Make physical activity part of your family’s daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together.
  • Give your children equipment that encourages physical activity.
  • Take young people to places where they can be active, such as public parks, community baseball fields or basketball courts.
  • Be positive about the physical activities in which your child participates and encourage them to be interested in new activities.
  • Make physical activity fun.  Fun activities can be anything your child enjoys, either structured or non-structured. Activities can range from team sports or individual sports to recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities or free-time play.
  • Instead of watching television after dinner, encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase or riding bikes.
  • Be safe! Always provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads or knee pads and ensure that activity is age-appropriate.

What if my child has a disability?

Physical activity is important for all children. It’s best to talk with a health care provider before your child begins a physical activity routine. Try to get advice from a professional with experience in physical activity and disability. They can tell you more about the amounts and types of physical activity that are appropriate for your child’s abilities.

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3 Responses

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  1. Love this article! I’m a big believer that having an active role model in a child’s life plays a huge part in them seeking out fun activities. I’m wondering…has physical activity in school gone by the wayside now? When I was a kid, we had an hour of activity almost every day of the week….not to mention playground time at lunch and recess. Then again, those were the days it was also safe enough to walk to and from school alone. Lots has changed.

  2. Isopure Protien said

    I think the way kids and adults view “working out” are very different. In my opinion the very best way to keep your whole family active and engaged is to limit activities involving a screen. Video games, TV and computers.

  3. Rakesh Kumar said

    this article is very good for every one.

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