I love to research things that have the potential to make our lives better, easier and healthier. Although I am limited to what exercises I can do, I am still a keen advocate of exercise as part of a holistic approach for adults and children.
To improve cardio respiratory and muscular fitness, bone health, and cardiovascular and metabolic health, children and teens aged 5–17, should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
Most of this daily physical activity should be aerobic, but vigorous intensity activities should also be incorporated at least 3 times per week. For children and young people, physical activity can include walking, play, games, sports, physical education, or planned exercise, in the context of family, school, and community activities.
Physical activity for all
These recommendations are relevant to all healthy children aged 5–17 years, unless specific medical conditions indicate to the contrary.
Whenever possible, children and youth with disabilities should also try to meet these recommendations. However they should work with their health care provider to understand the types and amounts of physical activity appropriate for them, considering their disability.
For inactive children and youth, a progressive increase in activity to eventually achieve the target shown above is recommended. As with all exercise, it is appropriate to start with smaller amounts of physical activity, with a view to gradually increase the duration frequency and intensity of exercise over time.
It should also be noted that if children are currently doing no physical activity, doing amounts below the recommended levels bring about more benefits than doing nothing at all.
Benefits of Physical Activity for Young People
Appropriate physical activity assists young people to develop healthy bones, muscles and joints, develop a healthy heart and lungs, develop co-ordination and movement control and to maintain a healthy body weight.
Physical activity has been associated with psychological benefits in young people by improving their control over symptoms of anxiety and depression. Similarly, participation in physical activity can assist in the social development of young people by providing opportunities for self-expression, building self-confidence, social interaction and integration.
It has also been suggested that physically active young people more readily adopt other healthy behaviours (including avoidance of tobacco, alcohol and drug use) and demonstrate higher academic performance in school.