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Frequently Asked Questions

More Information about Kid's Physical Activity

Why is physical activity good for children?

Daily physical activity is beneficial for kids because it:

  • Builds muscle strength and strong bones;
  • Improves heart health;
  • Helps to maintain healthy body weight;
  • Reduces stress;
  • Fosters self-esteem and confidence; and
  • Inspires lifelong healthful habits.

How much physical activity should children and adolescents get each day?

Children and adolescents should engage in at least one hour or more of physical activity every day, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What is “BMI”?

“BMI” stands for Body Mass Index. BMI is calculated by multiplying your weight in pounds and dividing that by the square of your height in inches. It is a calculation used to determine whether someone is at a healthy weight. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), since children grow at different rates, a healthy BMI for a child (ages 2-20) is calculated by using a BMI table that compares a child’s weight and height with growth charts.

How much sleep do school-age children need each night?

Children between 5 and 10 years of age should get between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Why do I need to make sure my children stay physically active at home?

The best scenario is when kids are active at home and school. By making time for activity at home, you can improve the entire family’s health as well as make sure your kids are getting enough exercise.

What are some simple activities that I can show my kids to increase their activity?

There are many things kids can do to be more active. For example, jumping rope, going for a walk, dancing, washing the car or doing yard work, relay races and playing ball, hop scotch and tag are simple activities that require minimal equipment and supervision, and encourage aerobic activity.

How can I inspire kids to get active?

The best thing you can do is to stay active yourself. Be a role model for your children. This involves making time every day for physical activity.

How can I help my family stay motivated to be active?

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to focus on doing things you enjoy. It's also important to incorporate fitness activities into your normal daily routine. Sometimes signing up for a class, joining a team or finding a fitness partner is helpful to inspire motivation. To prevent boredom, vary the types of activities you do.

What are easy snack foods that are healthful and convenient?

Examples include: fresh and dried fruit, carrots and celery, cheese, pretzels, yogurt, beef or turkey jerky and almonds.

If ten minutes of physical activity is all we have time for, is that really beneficial?

Any amount of physical activity is better than none — even if it's just a few minutes. Research shows that incorporating a series of brief 10-minute activity breaks throughout the day provides many benefits.

Does physical activity during the day affect kids’ academic performance?

Research shows that when kids are active during the school day, their cognition and behavior improve.

What are some of the benefits of incorporating more physical activity into the school day?

Physical activity increases student learning, comprehension and attendance, while it reduces behavior problems.

What is the best drink to offer to children?

Water is the healthiest drink for people of all ages to consume. Our bodies are made up of around 70 percent water. Children should drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water each day.

What can I do about some of the challenges that make it difficult to be active?

Making simple changes in your daily routine is the easiest way to tackle obstacles that make physical activity challenging. Here are a few simple steps to take:

Challenges

Solutions

Too much technology

Place limits on screen time or sit on a yoga ball while playing video games.

Lack of time

Make a plan. Think ahead and make activity part of your daily routine, even in 10-minute time blocks.

Lack of outdoor space

Encourage a neighborhood walkability survey to identify the safest and most walkable areas around you.

Lack of ideas

Make changes in your daily routine. For example, when possible, try walking or biking instead of driving. Instead of watching TV after dinner, take a walk.

Lack of motivation

Set goals, be realistic, and keep it fun. You’ll quickly see the many benefits of regular exercise.