Active Children, More Often, Everyday
Being physically active every day is important for your child’s growth and development. There are lots of different activities to keep children active, this makes exercise more fun and helps to use and strengthen different parts of the body.
How much activity should children do?
These are the minimum amounts of time children should be active for, doing more is recommended.
Children under 5
Should be active for at least three hours (180 minutes) every day.
This could be rolling and playing on the floor, standing up and moving around while grabbing, pulling and pushing through play. More energetic activity may include parent and child swimming, using a climbing frame, running around or playing ball games.
Children and Young People (5-18 years)
Should do at least 60 minutes of activity every day.
Children over 5 should do different types of exercises of moderate and vigorous intensity and for muscle strengthening. These activities include walking, skating and cycling; swimming, running and football or similar sports; plus gymnastics or martial arts.
This activity doesn’t all have to be at once, it should be spread over the whole day. Any 10 minute burst of energy counts towards the total minutes.
Need some more ideas for keeping children active?
Check out www.nhs.uk/change4life for hundreds of games, ideas and activities to have fun and get active – indoor and out, rain or shine – there’s something for all the family!
Stop sitting for long periods
Being inactive and sitting still (being sedentary) for long periods is bad for our health, even if we do the recommended amount of exercise for the day. Being inactive while we are asleep is ok though.
Try not to let children sit watching TV or playing on the computer or games console for long periods, and reduce the time they are sitting in a buggy or in the car. Break up the time they spend sat down to do homework or reading.
Remind children to do something active to break up long periods of sitting, even just a few minutes helps. Putting toys away, setting the dinner table and playing away from a screen are some ideas to encourage movement.
Find out more about being inactive and get ideas to build up children’s activity levels.
Great rewards for being active!
Encouraging children to achieve their recommended amount of physical activity each day will help to reduce their risk of poor health. Activity helps to strengthen muscles and bones and improves fitness. It builds confidence and improves concentration and learning at school. Being active is part of staying a healthy weight and improving health. Physical activity makes children feel good too!