Exercise should be encouraged at all ages. Children and youth respond to exercise and physical activity in much the same way that adults do. Exercise and physical activity also have a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem, self-efficacy and self-concept, especially as the child ages.


In general, school age children should aim to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. In most cases, promoting active play, participating in sports and physical education programs should be enough to ensure children stay fit and healthy.


Children will improve strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness when they engage in physical activity. The emphasis should be on factors such as skill acquisition, education about their bodies, promoting safe practices and enjoying exercise. Exercise should be developmentally appropriate, enjoyable and safe.


Special considerations should be applied when prescribing exercise to children. Exercise prescription should take into account the attention span of the child as well as the role of the parent in providing a positive role model. Prescribed activities should be enjoyable and relatively non-specific, with increased movement as the initial goal.


Some concerns have been proposed in regard to resistance based training in children. The potential impacts on a child’s growth or the risk of fracture in the growth plates are two examples. The American College of Sports Medicine has reported that these concerns are no greater in strength training than in sports or activities that children regularly participate. Strength training can offer an alternative for children who may dislike other modes of exercise or sports.


Children are less able to accommodate very high or very low environmental temperatures. Children sweat less than adults during hot weather exercise resulting in decrease evaporative cooling. This leads to increased susceptibility to heat injuries and decreased exercise efficiency in the heat, increased need for fluid replacement. Younger children will need to be encouraged to drink because the need for fluids if often greater for their desire to ingest them.


Below are some ideas, which you can enjoy with your children to ensure both you and your children stay active:



–            Indoor Rock Climbing, Trampoline Parks, BMX Tracks…

–            Play Grounds, Swimming Pools, Skate Parks

–            Sports Teams, Surf Lifesaving Clubs, Dance Lessons…

–            Walking Trails, Beaches, Parks…

Ball Tag, Hide and Seek, Rob the Nest…



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