Physical activity guidelines for children and young people

How much physical activity do children and young people aged 5-18 need to do to keep healthy?

To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do three types of physical activity each week: aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activity.

The amount of physical activity you need to do each week is determined by your age. Click on the links below for the recommendations for other age groups:

 

Physical activity for young people aged 5-18

 

To maintain a basic level of health, children and young people aged 5-18 need to do:

 

At least 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity every day, which should be a mix of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as fast walking, and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as running.

On three days a week, these activities should involve muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, 
            and bone-strengthening activities, such as running.

            Many vigorous-intensity aerobic activities can 
            help you meet your weekly muscle- and bone-
            strengthening requirements, such as running, 
            skipping, gymnastics, martial arts and football.

 

What counts as moderate-intensity aerobic activity?
Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most young people include:

  • walking to school
  • playing in the playground
  • skateboarding
  • rollerblading
  • walking the dog
  • riding a bike on level ground or ground with few hills

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.

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What counts as vigorous-intensity aerobic activity?
Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most young people include:

  • playing chase
  • energetic dancing
  • aerobics
  • running
  • gymnastics
  • playing football
  • martial arts, such as karate
  • riding a bike fast or on hilly ground

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity means you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

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What counts as muscle-strengthening activity?

For young people, muscle-strengthening activities are those that require them to lift their own body weight or to work against a resistance, such as climbing a rope.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities suitable for children include:

  • games such as tug of war
  • swinging on playground equipment bars
  • gymnastics
  • rope or tree climbing
  • sit-ups
  • sports such as gymnastics, football, basketball and tennis

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities suitable for young people include:

  • sit-ups
  • push-ups
  • gymnastics
  • resistance exercises with exercise bands, weight machines or hand-held weights
  • rock climbing
  • sports such as football, basketball and tennis

Children and young people should take part in activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

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What counts as bone-strengthening activity?
Bone-strengthening activities produce an impact or tension force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength. 

Examples of bone-strengthening activities suitable for children include:

  • activities that require children to lift their body weight or to work against a resistance
  • jumping and climbing activities, combined with the use of playground equipment and toys
  • games such as hop-scotch
  • skipping with a rope
  • walking
  • running
  • sports such as gymnastics, football, basketball and tennis
  • martial arts

Examples of bone-strengthening activities suitable for young people include:

  • dance 
  • aerobics
  • weight-training 
  • water-based activities
  • running
  • sports such as gymnastics, football, netball, hockey, badminton and tennis
  • skipping with a rope
  • martial arts

Children and young people should take part in activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

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Thanks to nhs.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.