Regular exercise is not only important for kids' attention, memory, muscles, and mood – it also helps their future health by reducing their risk of preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
In general, kids and teens should aim for at least 60 minutes of exercise per day. Here are some ways to make exercise fun and manageable for all ages.
Physical Activity Ideas for Preschool (Ages 3-5)
For preschool age children 3 to 5 years old, activities can include tag, follow-the-leader, playing at a local park or playground and even dancing. Physical activity can be done all at once or broken up throughout the day, so consider all the movement your kids enjoy from sunrise to sundown.
Physical Activity Ideas for School Age (Ages 5-9)
Some fun exercise ideas for school-aged children 5 to 9 years old include walking, running, jumping rope, dancing, and even ball-based games like catch, basketball, or soccer. It is important to lead by example; parents need exercise, too! Your child looks up to you and if they see you exercising, they'll want to follow your lead. Consider the impact of your habits and enjoy some activities together.
Physical Activity Ideas for Adolescents (Ages 10-19)
Adolescents 10 to 19 years old can enjoy brisk walking, swimming and strength training exercises like pushups, pull ups, or yoga. Also consider video games that require movement and even chores around the house. You can also consider assigning kids household chores that involve greater movement, like mowing the lawn or taking the dog for a walk or run – it is an easy way to get some things checked off your to-do list and can give your four-legged friends some extra attention, too.
Remember not to worry too much about how kids exercise – what matters is that they do. And most importantly, make sure they are safe, and remember to have fun.