Physical Activity Recommendations
We recommend more than 60 minutes of activity each and every day for all children and adolescents. For example, if you walk to school for 15 minutes each way, play a game of basketball with some friends for 30 minutes after school, and then ride your bike for 15 minutes, that would add up to 75 minutes of physical activity for the day. It's as simple as that!
At least 30 minutes of this physical activity should be moderate to strong in intensity; this means performing an activity that is at least 3 out of 10 on the exertion scale shown here:
||No work at all
||Watching TV, playing video games
||Vacuuming, washing dishes, folding laundry
||Walking slowly, riding a bike slowly
||Walking quickly, riding a bike faster, raking leaves
||Jogging slowly, riding a bike uphill, climbing stairs
||Playing soccer, basketball, football, jogging faster
||Sprinting the football field, racing with your friends!
||Very, very strong
||Running away from a tiger!
You will know that you are performing an activity that is moderate to strong in intensity (3 to 7 on the scale) because you will be breathing harder, your heart will be beating faster, and you may start to sweat.
Why should I do more physical activity?
All of the following benefits can be achieved through increased physical activity:
- Reduced risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease
- Can decrease problems from diabetes, high blood pressure and other medical conditions
- Prevents weight gain and helps with healthy weight loss
- Will help keep your bones and muscles healthy
- Can increase muscle strength and endurance
- Can help to increase self-confidence and self-image
- Can help to decrease feelings of sadness or depression
- Can give you more energy to do the things you want throughout the day!
What are some quick ways to increase my physical activity?
- Try to always use the stairs instead of the elevator
- Have your parents park farther away from stores to increase walking distance
- If you have recess, pick a more intense activity to do (play soccer instead of tether ball)
- If you already walk, swim or ride your bike, try to go a little further and a little faster
- Walk or run with the family dog, or ask to walk your neighbor's dog!
- Find a nearby park to play at with family and friends
- Get involved with sports teams and after school activities
- Get your parents to take you places on the weekend like the park, to go swimming, to go hiking, bike riding, or anything else that sounds like fun activity!
What is "screen time"?
Screen time is all time that you spend:
- Watching TV, DVDs, or videos
- Playing video games or computer games
- Surfing the internet
Your goal should be to limit this type of screen time to less than 2 hours per day.
Why should I decrease my screen time?
- Screen time takes away from time for being more physically active
- Screen time reduces the amount of time spent with family and friends
- People tend to eat too much food when in front of a screen
- Many commercials and TV shows promote unhealthy foods and activities