The Importance of Physical Activities to Children

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A child playing happily.Children and adolescents can choose any type of moderate or higher intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, playing tag, jumping rope, or swimming, as long as it is adds up to at least one hour a day.

It is recommended that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily.
– Recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.

For children and adolescents, regular physical activity has beneficial effects on the following aspects of health:

  • Weight
  • Muscular strength
  • Cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness
  • Bone mass (through weight-bearing physical activities)
  • Blood pressure (for hypertensive youth)
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Self-esteem

Children and adolescents who are just beginning to be physically active should start out slowly and gradually build to higher levels in order to prevent the risk of injury or feel defeated from unrealistic goals. It is important that children and adolescents are encouraged to be physically active by doing things that interest them. This will help them establish an active lifestyle early on. Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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