What Is the Recommended Amount of Daily Exercise for Kids and Why Is It So Important?
Exercise plays an integral role in the physical and mental development of children. But, what is the amount of exercise recommended daily for kids? This article aims to answer that question and also emphasize why daily exercise is essential for children’s growth and well-being.
The Recommended Daily Exercise for Children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and adolescents aged 6-17 years should get at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. In terms of what kinds of activities should be included, it is suggested that:
- Most of the hour or more should be aerobic activity (such as brisk walking, running, or riding a bike).
- At least 3 days a week, these activities should be vigorous (like running or a game that includes running, jumping, or racing).
- At least 3 days a week, activities should involve muscle and bone strengthening. This can include games such as hopscotch or sports like gymnastics or tennis.
These guidelines align with those of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international bodies. At All Kids Bike, our Learn-to-Ride Kindergarten PE curriculum teaches kids how to ride a bike, helping them to get the necessary exercise they need each day.
The Essential Benefits of Daily Exercise for Kids
The importance of daily exercise for kids cannot be overstated. Regular physical activity has an abundance of benefits that positively influence various aspects of a child’s development and overall health. Let’s delve deeper into why daily exercise — including fun activities like biking — is so crucial for our younger generation:
- Physical Health – The most apparent benefit of regular exercise is the positive impact it has on a child’s physical health. Regular physical activity helps children maintain a healthy weight. In the current era where childhood obesity has become a global concern, exercise plays a pivotal role in countering this issue. It helps to burn off excess calories and build lean muscle, reducing the risk of obesity and associated health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
Moreover, exercise also aids in the development of strong bones and muscles. Childhood is a crucial period for bone development. Weight-bearing exercises like jumping, running, or skipping can increase bone density, helping to build a strong skeletal system that will serve them into old age.
- Mental Health – Another vital area where exercise proves beneficial is in the mental health of children. Physical activity is a natural mood booster — it releases endorphins, often referred to as “feel-good” hormones, which help alleviate stress, reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, and generally enhance children’s mood and overall happiness.
Exercise can also improve children’s sleep patterns, providing them with more energy during the day and helping them relax and sleep better at night. This, in turn, aids in their mental well-being and concentration levels.
- Cognitive Development – Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity can enhance children’s cognitive functioning and academic performance. Exercise has been found to stimulate brain health by improving memory, concentration, and positive attitudes toward learning.
By encouraging problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity in active play, exercise also plays a role in promoting cognitive skills. It’s well-documented that kids who engage in regular physical activity tend to perform better in school.
- Social Skills – Group activities and team sports provide an excellent avenue for children to develop their social skills. They offer children the chance to interact with their peers, and learn about cooperation, teamwork, and respect for others. Sports can teach important life skills like handling success and failure, goal-setting, and working toward a common objective. Even if kids don’t play sports, physical activities like riding bikes together offer the opportunity to bond with each other and develop social skills.
- Establishing Healthy Habits – Incorporating physical activity into their routine from a young age can establish healthy habits that will carry into adulthood. Children who see exercise as a regular, enjoyable part of their lives are more likely to grow into adults who continue to lead active lifestyles. The earlier we foster these habits, the more ingrained they become.
To keep kids motivated, it’s essential to make exercise fun and varied. Here are some tips on how to make exercise fun for kids, including teaching them to ride bikes at an early age.
The benefits of daily exercise extend far beyond just the physical aspect — it plays a significant role in children’s mental, cognitive, and social development as well. Encouraging kids to engage in regular physical activity is one of the best ways to ensure they grow into healthy, well-rounded adults.
The Role of Schools in Promoting Physical Education
Schools also play a crucial role in promoting physical activity among children. Physical education in schools contributes significantly to the total amount of exercise a child gets in a day. Beyond the physical benefits, it also encourages team spirit, discipline, and resilience.
Physical Activities for Kids: Biking
One way to meet the recommended daily physical activity levels is through biking. Riding a bike provides an enjoyable way for kids to get their heart rates up and work their muscles.
The benefits are vast, ranging from increased balance and coordination to improved cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Learn more about the benefits of bicycle riding for kids.
As soon as a child has enough balance and coordination — usually around the age of 3 to 4 — they can start learning to ride a bike. For tips on choosing the right bike, check out this guide on how to choose the best bike for kids.
The recommended daily exercise for kids is at least one hour, incorporating aerobic activities and muscle-strengthening exercises. The benefits of daily exercise are multifaceted, benefiting not just the child’s physical health, but also their mental well-being, cognitive development, and social skills.
All Kids Bike is a national movement dedicated to bringing the mental and physical benefits of bike riding to every kid in America — including helping them get enough exercise each day. Led by the Strider Education Foundation, our mission is to make bicycling skills an integral part of kids’ elementary school education. Our Kindergarten PE Program provides the curriculum, bikes, and safety equipment needed to teach every kindergartner how to ride at no cost to the school itself.All Kids Bike and the Strider Education Foundation depend on generous contributions from the community to do the important work that we do. Consider donating to a school in your area to support our vision of making this milestone skill accessible to children across the country. Contact us to learn more or check us out on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn!