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How Much Physical Activity Should My Child Be Getting?

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Andrew Maloney,MD

Colder temperatures are near, and your child will likely be spending more time indoors. It can be challenging to remain as physically active as they were in the summer months.

Even in the fall and wintertime, it is important for your child to remain active for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, daily activity promotes better learning, improved behavior and less time away from school due to illness.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day for children between the ages of 6 and 17 years old. 

Children ages 3 through 5 are advised to be physically active throughout the day with no specific time recommendation — because they should be running around playing and laughing throughout the day at these ages.

Activities that can help your child meet the recommended daily activity requirement include:

  • Walking or biking to school
  • Running/active play at recess
  • Participating in a sport or club
  • After-school programs
  • Playing outside with friends

We generally all could use more physical activity and often the best way to increase your child’s amount is to do it with them. This can be a fun way to build your family relationships.

Here are a few activities you can do with your child at home when it gets cold to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

  • Bundle up and go for a walk outside
  • Try bike riding if weather conditions allow
  • Join an online yoga class
  • Try indoor basketball
  • Find a local indoor pool and go for a swim
  • Dance inside to your favorite songs
  • Go sledding/skiing/skating when the weather permits
  • Participate in household chores — like vacuuming floors and raking leaves

If you have questions related to your child’s physical activity level contact your child’s primary healthcare provider.