Children should have many chances to run, bike, and play sports during the day. Experts recommend that children get 60 minutes of moderate exercise every day.
Moderate activity means you breathe harder and your heart beats faster than normal. Some examples are:
Younger children have a shorter attention span than older children. They may be active for only 10 - 15 minutes at a time. The goal is still a total of 60 minutes of activity every day.
Children who exercise:
Other benefits of exercise are:
Not all children are the same. Some kids are very athletic and love getting outside and being active. Others would rather stay inside and play video games or watch TV.
If your child is not athletic, find ways to motivate your child to be more active.
These ideas may help non-athletic children become active:
FIND A GOOD MATCH
It is important to find an activity that excites your child. Some children like to do individual activities, such as swimming, running, skiing, or biking. Others prefer group sports, like soccer, football, or basketball.
Choose an exercise that works well for your child's age. For example, a 6-year-old may play outside with other kids, and a 16-year-old may run at a track.
Organized sports and daily activities are good ways for your child to get exercise. Daily activities can use as much, or more energy than some organized sports.
Some great daily activities are:
Children and exercise
Feigelman S. Middle childhood. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 11.
US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Recommendation statement. 2008. Accessed March 20, 2011.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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