How much exercise is enough for my child?

blurred child on bikeOf course this will depend on the age of your child. It is so easy to leave the children in front of the television or playing on an electronic game but they shouldn’t be sitting down too much during the day. There is growing evidence that such behaviour can increase the risks of poor health not to mention creating habits of a lifetime.

So, this includes the following activities: –

  • Being restrained in a pushchair or car seat
  • Watching TV and playing video games
  • Travelling on a bus or train

Children under five

Children under five who can walk unaided should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (three hours) during a day spread indoors or out.

If your child is under five, they should be engaging in light activity, which includes standing, moving around and ball games for example. More energetic physical activity would include fast walking, swimming, riding a bike or balance bike and using a skipping rope. This is the type of activity that will make the children ‘huff and puff’.

Children and young people aged 5 to 18

Children and young people aged 5 to 18 should do at least 60 minutes (one hour) of aerobic activity every day. This activity should be a combination of moderate, vigorous aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening activity and bone-strengthening activity. This should include:-

  • Moderate-intensity activities: this means your child is working hard enough to raise their heart rate and break a sweat. Examples of this would be walking/cycling to school, skateboarding and walking your dog
  • Vigorous-intensity activities: this means they’re breathing hard and fast, and their heart rate is considerably raised. For example playing chase, energetic dancing, playing football and cycling on hilly ground. They would only be able to say a few words without pausing for breath
  • Muscle-strengthening activity would include push ups or gymnastics for younger children and bone-strengthening activity such as running, martial arts, water based activities and football should be incorporated 3 times per week

 How you can help your child do more

You can help by encouraging your child to find activities they enjoy, and by building physical activity into family life. See article for more ideas. Most children love running around a park or playing in a playground.

Team sports, such as football, basketball and volleyball, can also be great fun. If your child doesn’t like team sports, there are plenty of other activities such as dance and martial arts. Talk to your child see what interests them and build on that. Most schools offer a wide range of after school activities and your local Leisure Centre can help too.

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  1. Pingback: For the Children! | False Exercise

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