Physical Activity Recommendations

Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be all at once. Breaking it up into several short periods of five, 10, or even 20 minutes works just as well. Kids who aren’t used to 60 minutes of physical activity a day should be encouraged to start small and work their way up to 60 minutes over time.

Most kids have physical activities that they already enjoy, but they may need some encouragement to put down the remote and get out and do those things. Some fun physical activities that your child might enjoy include:

  • Playing catch with a baseball or football
  • Climbing on a jungle gym
  • Dancing
  • Jumping rope
  • Riding a bike
  • Shooting baskets
  • Swimming
  • Playing tag
  • Helping with yard work
  • Going for a walk or taking the family dog for a walk, or
  • Hiking

It’s good to set an example for your child by being active yourself. Not only will your child see that being physically active is healthy and fun, they may also want to join you. This is especially true for younger kids. Doing activities as a family is a great way to set an example. Going on family walks or hikes, playing sports in the yard, and assigning active chores like sweeping, raking, or vacuuming are all ways to be active together as a family.

Registering your child for organized team sports is another good way to encourage physical activity. Many kids are motivated to be more physically active by team sports and competition. You can also register your child for sports or classes that don’t necessarily involve a team, such as dance, martial arts, or swimming.

Some kids feel uncomfortable playing sports or joining a class with other people, and that’s okay too. These kids should be encouraged to do physical activities they enjoy on their own, such as jumping rope, riding a bike, or dancing to their favorite music.

Kids tend to spend too much time sitting down watching television, playing video games, using the computer, or using tablets and smartphones. Help your child cut down on inactive time by limiting screen time to no more than two hours a day. If they are watching television, encourage them to get up and move during commercials.