Healthy Children - March 2018

How much Physical Activity is needed?

Adults (18-64 years)

Adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level or 1 hour and 15 minutes each week or aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level. Being active 5 or more hours each week can provide even more healthy benefits. Spreading aerobic activity should be done or at least 10 minutes at a time. Adults should also do strengthening activities, like push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights, at least 2 days a week.

Children and Adolescents (6-17 years)

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Most of the 60 minutes should be either moderate – or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week. As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening activities, like climbing, at least 3 days a week and bone-strengthening activities, like jumping, at least 3 days a week. Children and adolescents are often active in short burst of time rather than for sustained periods of time, and these short burst can add up to meet physical activity needs. Physical activities for children and adolescents should be developmentally appropriate, fun, and offer variety.

Young Children (2-5 years)

There is not a specific recommendation for the number of minutes young children should be active each day. Children ages 2-5 years should play actively several times each day. Their activity may happen in short burst of time and not be all at once. Physical activities for young children should be developmentally appropriate, fun, and offer variety.

Physical activity is generally safe for everyone. The health benefits you gain from being active are far greater than the chances of getting hurt. Here are some things you can do to stay safe while you are active:

  • If you haven’t been active in a while, start slow and build up.
  • Learn about the types and amounts of activity that are right for you.
  • Choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level.
  • Build up the time you spend before switching to activities that take more effort.
  • Choose a safe place to do your activity.
  • See a health care provider if you have a health problem.