Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can help:
Control your weight
Strengthen your bones and muscles
Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers
What is physical activity?
Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve your health: aerobic and muscle-strengthening.
How much physical activity do adults need to be healthy? For important health benefits adults need:
Two hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity* aerobic activity ( brisk walking) every week, or one hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity* aerobic activity (jogging or running) every week, or an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
Muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on two or more days a week.
*A moderate-intensity level is when you are able to carry on a conversation comfortably while engaging in the activity. A vigorous intensity level is when you are winded or too out of breath to carry on a conversation.
How much physical activity do children need to be healthy?
Children and adolescents should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Encourage your child to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety.
What can I do to get (and keep) my child active?
As a parent, you can help shape your child's attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity by:
Setting a positive example by leading an active lifestyle.
Making physical activity part of your family's daily routine by taking walks or playing active games together.
Giving your children equipment that encourages physical activity.
Taking young people to places where they can be active, such as public parks, community baseball fields or basketball courts.
Being positive about the physical activities in which your child participates and encouraging their interest in new activities.
Making physical activity fun. Activities range from sports to recreational activities such as running, skating, bicycling, swimming, basketball, soccer, etc.
Limiting your child’s screen time (computer, video games, TV).
Always provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads or knee pads and ensure that activity is age-appropriate.