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Getting Kids Active–10 Minutes at a Time!

Do you have trouble getting your kids up and moving?

A "no sweat" way to motivate kids to be active is to make physical activity a natural part of everyday life. For good health, children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, but ideally, every day. Scientific research shows that short periods of physical activity–even as little as 10 minutes at a time–performed throughout the day provide health benefits similar to longer periods of physical activity.

This means kids can accumulate their 60 minutes in shorter, more achievable chunks of time. For example, they can do 30 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of bike riding and 20 minutes of active play such as jumping rope or playing tag.

All types of activities can count toward kids' 60-minute total, including participating in sports, dance or martial arts classes, biking, running, swimming, walking, and even "active chores" such as raking leaves, vacuuming and dusting. In addition, for healthy muscles and bones, kids should participate in muscle strengthening exercises twice each week. These activities include push-ups, pull-ups, gymnastics or playing on a jungle gym or other playground equipment.

You play an important role in helping your child to be active by being active yourself, finding fun ways for the family to be active together and setting limits on screen time.

More on getting active:
Make Fitness a Family Affair
Setting Limits on Screen Time

Reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Panel, 2006