Physical Activity: What You Need to Know

Physical Activity: What You Need to Know

Physical activity is important for good health!

If you are a parent, make sure you are setting a good example for your kids by being active and making physical activity a part of your family’s life. Learn more about much physical activity should we do below.

What are the types of physical activity? 

Aerobic activities make you breathe hard and your heart beat faster. Aerobic activities can be moderate or vigorous in their intensity. During moderate physical activity, you can talk while you do them, but you can’t sing. During vigorous physical activity, you can only say a few words without stopping to catch your breath. 

Muscle-strengthening activities include things like push-ups, sit-ups, and lifting weights. 

Bone-strengthening activities, like jumping, are especially important for children and adolescents. These activities produce a force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength.

Balance and stretching activities reduce the risk of injuries. Examples are tai chi and yoga.

How much physical activity should we do?


Aerobic: Adults should do at least 2½ hours a week of moderate or 1¼ hours a week vigorous physical activity. This translates to 30 minutes of moderate exercise or 15 minutes of vigorous exercise 5 days a week. Spreading activity over at least 3 days a week is best.

Strengthening: Adults should perform strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week.

Children (6-17)

Aerobic: Children should do at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity each day. Vigorous activity should be done at least 3 days a week. (This is included in the 60 minutes per day.)

Muscle-strengthening: As part of the 60 minutes or more, children should do muscle-strengthening activities (like climbing or crossing monkey bars) at least 3 days a week.

Bone-strengthening: As part of the 60 minutes or more, children should do bone-strengthening activities, like jumping, at least 3 days a week.

Young Children (3-5 years old)

Preschool-aged children should be physically active through active play throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Caregivers can encourage play through a variety of activities.


More tips!

If you want to learn how to fit physical activity into your day, what to do on cold days, or how to include the whole family, check out the full fact sheet about Physical Activity here.

View Fact Sheet

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