A daily exercise program can provide a way to share an activity with family and friends and help create good heart-healthy habits. The current guidelines for children are below:
- A daily period of time that adds up to 60 minutes (1 hour) = Health benefits.
- School-age youth should participate daily in 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity that is developmentally appropriate, enjoyable, and involves a variety of activities.
- Cumulative activity, not necessarily sustained
Increases cardiorespiratory fitness
Promotes bone growth and strength
|Playing on playground|
Structured or unstructured
More vigorous aerobic activities are best for improving the fitness of the heart and lungs. Aerobic activities are continuous activities that cause the heart rate to increase and cause the breathing rate to increase. Regular aerobic physical activity increases a child's capacity for exercise and plays a role in prevention of heart diseases. Aerobic exercise may also help to lower blood pressure.
Exercise on a regular basis is part of a healthy lifestyle. However, some children can exercise too much. If your child begins losing weight and falls below his/her normal growth patterns, or if exercise interferes with other normal activities and school, talk with your child's physician.
For children and teens, daily exercise may help prevent conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, and poor lifestyle habits that may lead to heart conditions later in life. Research shows that children who grow up with healthy exercise habits are more likely to continue those habits as adults.