We thought we would kick off the year with some thoughts and guidelines for activity levels in children – something to ponder over, and hopefully plan around, to give your children the best chance for fitness and health. The Canadian Physical Activity guidelines say the following:
- Infants under 1 year should be physically active several times a day by engaging in interactive floor-based play.
- Being active as an infant means: tummy time, reaching for toys using some effort, playing or rolling on the floor, crawling or walking around the house
TODDLERS and PRESCHOOLERS
- Toddlers (aged 1 to 2 years) and preschoolers (2 to 4) should accumulate 3 hours of activity of any intensity throughout the day
- Being active as a toddler or preschooler means:
- Any activity that gets kids moving (Climbing stairs and moving around the home; Playing outside and exploring their environment , Crawling, brisk walking, running or dancing ,The older children get, the more energetic play they need, such as hopping, jumping, skipping and bike riding)
- Children between the ages of 5 and 11 should accumulate at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.
- Moderate-intensity physical activities will cause children to sweat a little and to breathe harder. Activities like: Bike riding and Playground activities
- Vigorous-intensity physical activities will cause children to sweat and be ‘out of breath’. Activities like: Running and Swimming
The benefits of these activity levels have been shown to include improved cardiovascular function, better concentration levels, better self-esteem, improved strength, and improved overall health. Some studies have also shown that increased activity levels result in better academic achievement.
We live in a country with such a wonderful climate that there is no excuse for sedentary days. No fancy equipment is required – go for a walk, run around the garden, use your child’s school grounds over the weekend/after school. Let’s get our kids fit and healthy!
Here are some background research if you are looking for further reading.