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Factsheet 3 Physical Activity Guidelines for children & young people 5-18 years
Physical Activity can contribute to the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of all children, young people and staff within the school and its community.
The links between health, physical activity and wellbeing is well established. Potential benefits of regular participation in moderate intensity activity include:
Improved overall health
Healthy growth & development
Improved muscular strength, endurance and flexibility
Maintenance of energy balance in order to encourage a healthy weight
Reduced risk of developing adult diseases and conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure
A sense of wellbeing
Enhanced self esteem
Reduction in anxiety and stress
Opportunities for social interaction
Improved social and moral development
Improved cognitive functioning and academic achievement in school
Physical Activity recommendations for children & young people:
To improve health, it is recommended that all children and young people should participate in a minimum of one hour of at least moderate intensity physical activity every day
In addition, at least twice a week, all children and young people should take part in activities that help to develop muscular strength, flexibility and bone health.
The one hour message is about accumulating 60 minutes of activity per day. The 60 minutes can be made up of 2 X 30 minute blocks, 4 X 15 minutes or 6 x 10 minutes
Any type of physical activity is beneficial and just encouraging children and young people to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting or being inactive is a good starting point.
The greatest benefits come from engaging in a broad range of physical activity including:
Exercise and training sessions
Walking & jogging
It is important that children and young people recognise that everyday activities such as walking and cycling to school, active play and recreation are included in the recommendation, as they can make a significant contribution to the overall amount of activity an individual does.
The Government published new Physical Activity Guidelines in July 2011 in a guidance document 'Start Active, Stay Active'. The report emphasizes the importance of Physical Activity for all ages and includes updated guidance for children and young people and a new guidance for early years.