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Daily Physical Activity Requirements and Exercise Activities For Children

Childhood obesity is in the news today and for a good reason. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity rates have more than tripled during the last 30 years. It has only been recently, however, that medical professionals and dieticians have started taking an active role in monitoring school lunches for their high caloric/sugar content. Likewise, medical professionals are also taking a serious look at the role that daily exercise and activity can play in mitigating the staggering current obesity rates.

According to statistics released by the CDC, adolescents and children should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity and exercise each and every day. These activities should focus on strengthening bones and muscles and should also include aerobic activity for good cardiovascular health.

This may sound like a lot of exercise, but a good aerobic workout for a child can be something as simple as a brisk walk, while muscle-strengthening and bone-building activities can include normal playtime games that your child may already enjoy on a daily basis.

Here are a few tips to help you get your child into a healthy daily activity regime:

Aerobic Activities

According to the CDC, aerobic activities should comprise the majority of your child’s daily play/exercise schedule. Moderate-intensity aerobic activities can include a regular routine of brisk walking, biking, skateboarding, rollerblading or riding on a scooter. High-intensity aerobic activities can include running or skipping rope. It is important to schedule high-intensity aerobic activities into your child’s routine at least three days a week.

Bone-Building, Muscle-Strengthening Activities

If your school offers daily gym class for all students, chances are that your child is already engaging in some good exercises for building up bones and muscles. Muscle-strengthening, bone-building activities can include push-ups, rope climbing, jumping exercises and gymnastics. Additionally, team sports activities such as basketball and soccer will help to develop and build up your child’s muscles and bone structure.

Gauging Your Child’s Workout

If you are not sure how to tell whether an activity is considered high intensity or moderate intensity, there is a simple way you can gauge it for yourself. Compile an activity scale of 0 to 10, where sitting would be 0 and 10 would be fast, intensive running. On this scale, a moderate-intensity activity would be rated somewhere in the middle.

If your child is engaging in a physical activity where they are breathing harder and their heart is beating faster than normal, this would generally be considered a moderate-intensity workout and would rate around a five or a six on your scale. If your child is involved in a fast-paced activity that leaves them breathing much harder than normal and gives them a much faster heartbeat, you can consider this to be a high-intensity workout and it would rate at least a 7 or 8 on your scale.

Age-appropriate Exercises

Whether it’s a high-intensity foot race or a moderate-intensity session of jump roping, it’s crucial that you make sure your child is engaging in an age-appropriate activity. For example, you don’t want a young child to be participating in a muscle-strengthening activity such as lifting weights, which can cause serious damage to growing muscles, tendons and ligaments. Likewise, rough team sports such as football are inadvisable for young children, whose muscles haven’t yet developed enough for this much stress.

Instead of lifting weights, young children can get plenty of muscle-strengthening exercise by playing on monkey bars at their school or playground.

Outdoor Activities

Here are a few healthy outdoor and indoor activities that can offer your child a good aerobic workout while strengthening muscles and building up young bones:


Tennis, baseball or soccer


Swinging on ropes or ladders

Jump roping

Kite flying




Miniature Golf




Indoor activities

Skipping rope

Tossing bean bags and soft balls


Indoor Hoop Basketball

Hide and Seek

Hula Hoop


Ping Pong

As you may have noticed, nearly all of these activities are games that your child would be participating in anyway, whether at school, at home or with the neighborhood children.

Activities are Fun

Make sure that activity time is considered playtime. You don’t want your child to think of it as an exercise regime; rather, it should be thought of as a fun time for games and play. Even the simplest child’s game or activity can pack a huge aerobic workout, so if your child adheres to a regular playtime routine with plenty of physical games, chances are that they are getting enough of a workout every day.

Whether you’re considering family healthcare options at
The Healthcounter pharmacy or whether you’re concerned about your child’s daily activity requirements, it’s important to do as much research as you can so that you’ll be able to make educated decisions when you monitor your child’s playtime activities. Likewise, it’s also crucial that you speak to your pediatrician to find out more about the healthiest activities for your child’s daily exercise regime.

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