How Much Exercise Should My Child Do?

Last updated on August 13th, 2015 at 05:45 pm

Family WorkoutIt depends on your child’s age.

Children and young people of all ages should try to minimise the time they spend sitting down. For example:

  • being restrained in a pushchair (UK)* or car seat
  • watching TV and playing video games
  • travelling on a bus or train

Children Under Five

Children under five who can walk unaided should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (three hours), spread throughout the day, indoors or out.

If your child is under five, you should encourage them to do:

Children and Young People Aged 5 to 18

Children and young people aged 5 to 18 should do at least 60 minutes (one hour) of aerobic physical activity every day. This should include a mix of:

  • Moderate-intensity activities: this means your child is working hard enough to raise their heart rate and break a sweat
  • Vigorous-intensity activities: this means they’re breathing hard and fast, and their heart rate has gone up quite a bit

As part of your child’s 60 or more minutes, they should also do activities that strengthen their muscles and bones.

For examples of activities, see:

How you can help your child

You can help by encouraging your child to find activities they enjoy, and by building physical activity into family life. Most children love running around a park or playing in a playground. Live Well has more tips for how to get active with your kids.

Team sports, such as football, basketball and volleyball, can also be great fun. If your child doesn’t like team sports, there are plenty of other activities, such as dance and martial arts. Try the sport quiz to find out what sports might suit you or your child.

Use the Find services directory to find sporting facilities in your area (UK).

Read the answers to more questions about exercise.

Further information:

* or stroller (US)

About the Author

NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk) is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your healthcare.

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