Regular physical activity is so important for children’s development, not just physically, but also socially and mentally. Being active can help children:
tummy timeto tag
Small babies need
tummy time when they are awake and alert. That means putting them on their stomachs so that they can build muscles to lift their heads, move their arms and legs, learn how to roll and get ready to crawl and explore.
As they grow, keep looking for ways to make it easy for your child to be active. Kids look to their parents. Show them that you like to move too. Get out for walks in places where they can play tag and ball games. Dance with them. Show them that you prefer taking the stairs rather than the elevator. Limit the time they spend sitting in front of a screen, and find the spaces where they can run, jump, climb, dance, swim, and bike their way to lifelong good health.
Active play comes in many forms and varies with age. Active play is any unstructured, child-directed movement that children do for fun – playground games like tag, skipping or ball games for instance. The energy spent in play varies – it may be more or less vigorous than organized sports, but a child tends to do it longer, choosing for themselves when to rest. And it’s not just great for a child’s growing body – it has social and mental health benefits too.
Active transportation is any way that children move from A to B using their own power. Besides walking and running, it includes things like biking, in-line skating and skate boarding.
Children who take part in some form of organized physical activity are more likely to meet Canada's physical activity guidelines. Ontario children in grades 1 to 8 are required to get at least 20 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous daily physical activity each school day. Elementary and middle school students have physical education classes. Structured physical activities might also occur out of school, including participation in sports teams, martial arts and dance.
Physical activity is any form of regular movement. For kids of all ages, it should include bouts of moderate to vigorous activity that raises their heart rate. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines setout levels of activity for children as they grow:
Sedentary behaviour means doing things that require very little movement, while in a sitting or reclining position like watching TV, playing passive video or computer games, travelling by car, or spending time in strollers or high chairs. Research suggests that children with high levels of sedentary behaviour have greater health risks, no matter how active they are at other times.
The Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend these limits for sedentary behaviours in children: