Most kids don’t get enough exercise.

That’s why it is good to teach them good habits early.

How early?

Believe it or not, there are recommendations for toddlers and preschoolers to get exercise. Infants can get involved too. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that “infants should interact with caregivers in daily physical activities that are dedicated to exploring movement and the environment.”

Of course, for toddlers and preschoolers, exercise isn’t about making them run laps. It is instead about encouraging them to run around and play so that they are not “sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.”

Older kids not only need more exercise, they need more intense exercise, including aerobic activity, muscle strengthening activities, and bone strengthening activities.

“Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.”

How much physical activity do children need?

At any age, the goal is to make physical activity a part of your child’s life. You don’t want it to seem like a chore when you tell your kids to go outside and play – it should be fun.

It can help to:

  • start early
  • set a good example and be active as a family
  • make sure activities are age appropriate
  • remember that physical activity can be unstructured – it doesn’t always have to be part of a team sport, although being on a team can be a good way to get into a routine of being active
  • keep it fun – don’t jump to select sports too soon or if your child isn’t interested and don’t specialize in one sport too early

Do your kids know how to swim?

Can they ride a bike?

Have they played any team or individual sports?

Talk to us if you are having trouble keeping your kids active, especially if asthma or a video game addiction is getting in the way of your child getting more exercise.

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