Active Living Tips
Active living contributes to children's healthy growth and development and healthy body weights. Here are some great ways to help children become more physically active.
Focus on the Fun
Fun is first on a long list of benefits that come with being physically active. Most young children enjoy participating in physical activities for the fun of it.
- Help kids identify physical activities they enjoy from a young age.
- Focus on participation for the fun of it rather than performance or competition.
- Make a habit of having fun being physically active as a family.
Build Daily Activity
Canada's Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth recommend spending at least 30 minutes more a day being physically active. The goal is for children to increase their activity gradually, until they are doing at least 90 minutes of physical activity daily.
- Build up physical activity throughout the day in periods of at least 5 to 10 minutes, gradually over several months.
- Remember that active play (like a game of catch or tag) and walking count towards total daily activity.
- Check out Canada's Physical Activity Guide for Children for ideas on how to increase daily activity.
Make activity a family affair. Set some physical activity ground rules for your family and support children in setting goals to become more physically active.
- Involve children in setting a family goal to become more physically active.
- Make a plan to increase physical activity levels and follow through together.
- Track daily physical activities. Praise and reward small steps and celebrate successes along the way.
Change it Up
Different activities provide different benefits. Make sure children participate in a variety of physical activities that encourage endurance, flexibility and strength.
- Endurance activities like running, swimming, skating, dancing and bike riding help heart and lungs stay healthy.
- Flexibility activities like stretching, ballet, gymnastics, jazz dancing and bowling help keep joints moving.
- Strength activities like climbing stairs, rock climbing, rowing and push-ups help build muscles and bones.
Reduce Inactive Time
Canada's Guidelines for Increasing Physical Activity in Children recommends reducing inactive time by at least 30 minutes a day.
- Help make children aware of how much time they spend being active and inactive.
- Turn off the TV, computer and video games and encourage physical activity instead.
- Suggest that children walk, run or bike places instead of taking a ride in the car or public transportation (when possible and safe).