It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.
Appropriate practice of physical activity assists young people to:
Develop healthy bones, muscles and joints;
Develop a healthy heart and lungs;
Develop coordination and movement control;
And maintain a healthy body weight.
Children and adolescents should have 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily.
Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
Did you know?
Physical activity has also been associated with mental health 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 adopt other healthy behaviors (e.g. avoidance of tobacco, alcohol and drug use) and demonstrate higher academic performance at school.
Children and youth who have disabilities should work with their doctors to find out what types and amounts of physical activity are safe for them. When possible, these children should meet the recommendations in the guidelines.