Run. Jump. Play. Every Day.
Regular physical activity is so important for children’s’ health and development. Great things happen when children move more. Being active can help children:
- Build strong muscles and bones
- Sleep better
- Achieve more at school, through improved learning and attention span
- Have less risk of chronic diseases (like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes) later in life
Each day, children of all ages should get 60-minute bouts of moderate-to-vigorous activity that raises their heart rate. According to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, children between the ages of five and 17 should also do the following three days a week:
- Vigorous activity that makes them breathe hard and start to sweat, like playing tag, soccer, swimming, or cycling; and
- Hopping, skipping, running, gymnastics, and playing and swinging on playground equipment to strengthen muscles and bones.
Unfortunately, Canadian children are not moving enough. Only about one-third of five-to-seven year olds in Canada are meeting the recommended physical activity levels.
There are many ways to help children get active. These ways do not have to be costly or complicated. Keep encouraging children to “Run. Jump. Play. Every Day.” through a mix of physical activities, including:
- Active play – this is any unstructured, child-directed movement that children do for fun, such as playground games like tag and hopscotch.
- Active transportation – this is any form of movement that gets children from point A to point B in an active way, such as walking, running, biking, and skateboarding.
- Sports and other structured activities in school and after school – this can include planned activities like team sports, martial arts, and dance.
Check-out local parks, trails, and other great programs and ideas for getting active in your community:
- City of Cambridge
- City of Kitchener
- City of Waterloo
- Township of North Dumfries
- Township of Wellesley
- Township of Wilmot
- Township of Woolwich
Run. Jump. Play. Every Day
The Healthy Kids Community Challenge Physical Activity Toolkit also shares some fun games to increase physical activity. The games are intended for children of a variety of ages and skill levels and can be done indoors and outdoors.