Why 60 minutes is important.
Ensuring children get at least 60 minutes of activity, which gets them hot and slightly out of breath each day can help prevent major illnesses later in life.
Kids who are active are more likely to have a healthy weight and a better outlook on life. And the more active they become, the more they’ll start to enjoy physical activity, so things get better all the time. Tempt them away from the TV and computer whenever possible and reduce the time they spend sitting on buses and in cars by suggesting they walk part of the way. It’s much more fun than being stuck in traffic and it’ll count towards their 60 minutes.
Physical activity helps kids to:
- Be happy
- Sleep well at night
- Concentrate at school
- Control their weight
- Grow up healthy and strong
- Meet new friends
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Improve their confidence
Breaking it down.
60 minutes might sound a lot, but the good news is you can break it down into 10, 15 or 20 minute chunks throughout the day.
Kids can get off to a great start by walking to school, then running round the playground.
If they walk to a friend’s house in the evening and dance in the living room they’ll soon clock up their 60 minutes without even trying.
Levels of activity.
Children should aim for 60 minutes of activity that gets them hot and slightly out of breath. We’re not suggesting they do anything too serious - everyday activities like walking to school, running or riding a bike are perfect. And don’t worry if 60 minutes sounds a lot, they can do 10 or 15 minutes here and there throughout the day.
You should aim to have a mix of moderate and vigorous activities. Moderate activities cause children’s hearts to beat faster, they’ll get warmer and breathe harder, but they should still be able to hold a conversation without panting. These activities include walking, playing hide and seek and even shopping!
Activities should be slightly strenuous - don't worry, we're not suggesting they run a marathon or take up weight training. By 'slightly strenuous' we mean any physical activity that gets their heart beating faster.
Moderate activities include cycling or playing in the school playground and once they're used to doing this, suggest more vigorous activities like running fast in the park, swimming, football or hockey.
Vigorous activities will cause their hearts to beat rapidly, they’ll get warmer and breathe very quickly which will make chatting difficult. These more strenuous activities include rollerblading, chasing the dog around the park and dancing in the front room.
Also remember that activites that strengthen muscle and bone should be incorporated into your child's routine at least three times a week. These 'higher impact' activites include skipping, jumping hop scotch, swinging on playground equipment and aerobics.
Try to minimise the amount of time they spend sitting down in front of a TV or computer.
Tips for parents.
Ask your kids what activities they enjoy. Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself so encourage them to follow their interests and they’ll soon clock up their 60 minutes.
Encourage your children to spend more time outdoors and to invite friends over.
Teach your kids some of the traditional games you played when you were young like skipping rhymes, hoola hooping, rounders and hopscotch.
Have a box of basic and inexpensive sports equipment handy. Foam balls and skipping ropes for indoors, footballs and frisbees for outside.
You might not have much spare time, but sharing an activity is a good way to spend quality time with your children and is the perfect opportunity for you to get active as well.
Try putting some music on in the living room and dancing energetically to some of your favourite songs together.
You could even suggest your kids help around the house doing things that involve being active like sweeping, cleaning the windows and washing the car. It’ll also free up more time for you to do other things together.
Set some time aside at weekends for fun family activities like walking in the park, cycling or swimming.
- Why 60 minutes?
- Breaking it down
- Levels of activity