Physical Activity Guidelines for Growing Children

We know that getting enough exercise has many benefits to growing children’s health and development. But how much is needed? The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSPE)  has released new guidelines about how much and what type of physical activity is needed for good health(2014). Obviously, getting more than the recommended daily amounts of physical activity provides even greater benefits. Moderate-intensity physical activities will cause one to sweat a little and to breathe harder. Vigorous-intensity physical activities will cause one to be out of breath. I would like to summarize the CSPE recommendations based on age groups:

Children 5-11 years old

Kids aged 5-11 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily including vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week. As well, this should also include activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days per week. Moderate-intensity activities include bike riding and playground games. Vigorous-intensity physical activities include running and swimming.


Teens aged 12-17 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity per day. This should include vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week and muscle and bone strengthening exercises at least 3 days per week.  Moderate-intensity physical activities include skating and bike riding.  Examples of vigorous-intensity activities are running and rollerblading

Benefits of  Physical Activity 

There many benefits of getting enough physical activity. For children less than 18 years of age the benefits include:

  • Improved health and fitness
  • Improved school performance
  • Having fun playing with friends  and feeling happier
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Improved self-confidence

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Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.