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Are Your Children Active Enough?

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Happy child skipping rope in gym class3 Different Types of Activities Recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines of Canada

Do you ever question whether or not your children are meeting the minimum recommended level of activity? It’s easy for children to get distracted by all the technology they have at their fingertips, and sometimes they can too hastily dismiss the idea of playing outdoors with their friends.

Guidelines published by the Public Health Agency of Canada1 outline how much physical activity children should be getting every week, which can be a really helpful guide for you and your family.

There are different types of activity that children are encouraged to do to meet (or exceed) their recommended activity quota:

Moderate Aerobic Exercise: Moderate-intensity aerobic activity will make a person breathe harder and their heart beat faster. A child should be able to talk but not sing. Examples: walking briskly, skating, bike riding, or skateboarding.

Vigorous Aerobic Exercise: A person’s heart rate will increase even more and will not be able to say more than a few words without catching a breath. Examples: running, basketball, soccer, or cross-country skiing.

Strengthening Activities: Muscle-strengthening activities build muscles. For children, climbing and swinging on playground equipment is an example of a muscle strengthening activity.

  • Children aged 5–11 should get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. It should be vigorous, intense activity that helps build muscle and strengthen bones.
  • Children aged 12–17 are also recommended to do an hour every day of moderate to vigorous intensity activity, and vigorous activities at least three days a week. Combining aerobic and strengthening activities will improve their health and well-being.

Knowledge is important, but action is what matters. To actually motivate your child, try to lead by example and encourage the entire family to get out and move. Another potential strategy is to enlist your children in organized sports where they can learn new skills, make friends, and have fun. You may even want to introduce them to a sport that you once played as a child or encourage them to choose an activity based on their own interests or natural abilities. They’ll love the idea of trying something new.

 

References

1 Public Health Agency of Canada, “Physical Activity Guidelines,” https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp- ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/03paap-eng.php

2 Public Health Agency of Canada, “Physical Activity tips for children (5–11 years), https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa- ap/05paap-eng.php
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