How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?


As a parent, chances are that you know just how much energy children can have, especially toddlers. All of this energy needs to be spent somehow, and the best way for that is physical activity. Whether you prefer the outdoors or indoors, there are ways to ensure that your children get plenty of physical activity.

But physical activity is not all the same. You should make sure that your child’s physical activity is structured and serves a purpose. We reached out to people at Uptown Jungle in Mesa, AZ to tell us more about children’s need for physical activity and how best to ensure they get it.

Toddlers and Pre-School Children

When it comes to very young children, CDC and most other experts agree that they need plenty of physical activity all day. As their bodies and motor skills are developing, they need plenty of practice and stimulation.

This is why experts agree that they in particular need some structured exercises and activities such as catching and throwing balls, climbing stairs and ladders (safely) and similar.  Helping your children master motor skills and strength while also having fun is the best way to go about this. That’s why children’s playgrounds (both indoor and outdoor ones) have a variety of climbing, running, jumping activities, as well as ball games.

School Age Children

Older children require a lot less physical activity in order to remain healthy. Most experts will recommend anything between one to three hours of physical activates of different intensities every day.

However, in order to ensure that your children are developing properly, they will likely require some more strenuous activities two to three times a week.

This is usually the time when children start getting into sports which provide them with the majority of required physical activity.

Different Purposes of Physical Activity

As mentioned before, your children need a variety of physical activities in order to stimulate different aspects of their growth and development.

Roughly speaking, there are three categories of physical activities which all serve a different purpose and bolster a different aspect of a healthy body in your child.

Stamina Building

Aerobic activities such as walking, running, or swimming really should be the basis of your child’s physical activity. These activities don’t require too much investment or special equipment, so they can be done any time and any place.

Muscle Building

Another important thing physical activity is meant to do for your children is to build muscle. Not as a bodybuilder would, but just to develop properly.

Activities such as climbing and swimming are an excellent source of natural and well-adjusted muscle building activities.

Bone and Joint Building

Similarly to muscle growth and strengthening, your children’s bones and joints need help to develop properly. By keeping them consistently active, especially jumping and running, your children’s joints and bones will be trained to support their weight.

 Talk to Your Children

If you really want to help your children really enjoy and devote themselves to a healthy lifestyle and getting enough physical activity, you should talk to them and explain why it is important. Use simple language, but don’t be condescending.

Even better than telling your children why physical activity is important is showing them. Make sure you’re at least moderately physically active and that your family activities have at least partially active aspect, such as playing sports, riding bicycles, or any other activity you can all enjoy as a family.

We all know that we need to be physically active in order to remain healthy, and the same applies to our children. All we need to do is find the right motivation and the right types of activities that your children will enjoy.

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