What are the physical activity guidelines for children?
In 2008, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was released. It is sometimes referred to as PAG. It is the first ever publication of national guidelines for physical activity. The recommendation is that both children and adolescents will achieve 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Within these 60 minutes, there should be three types of physical activity: aerobic activity, muscle strengthening, and bone strengthening.
Aerobic activity. Most of the 60 minutes of physical activity each day should be aerobic activity. This is the recommendation. This can either be moderate intensity or vigorous intensity. Moderate intensity could be a brisk walk and vigorous intensity could be running. You want to include the vigorous intensity aerobic activity on at least three of the days of the week.
Muscle strengthening. It is recommended that muscle strengthening is incorporated into at least three days per week as part of the 60 minutes or more of physical activity that both children and adolescents are getting. This can be gymnastics or push-ups, for example. When you think about muscle strengthening activities, we are thinking about activities that promote all muscle movement and are working all the major muscle groups such as the legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders, and arms.
Bone strengthening. These activities are recommended at least three days a week as part of the 60 minutes or more. They include high impact activities such as jumping rope, running and hopscotch.