Health & Wellness Child Developement
What Kind of Exercise Should Kids Do?
Daily exercise is essential for the healthy growth and development of children.
“Beyond physical benefits, exercise positively influences the mental, emotional and cognitive development of children,” says Mr Micheal Lim, Head and Senior Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Sports Medicine Programme, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.
In general, children should engage in at least 60-90 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per day. Moderate intensity is when the heart is beating harder and breathing is faster than normal. The activities can be accumulated in short bouts of 10-15 minutes and include unstructured play and structured sports.
“Children are active in an intermittent way and alternate between short periods of activity and short periods of rest. Every minute counts towards the recommended guidelines,” says Mr Lim.
Physical exercise for children can begin as early as the age of one with unstructured play. Playing in the park or playground can progress to more structured games that include running, jumping, catching and throwing a ball. As children get older they can participate in competitive sports. However, in order to ensure that children do not get stressed out, over-train or push themselves to the limit, Mr. Lim recommends that children should be encouraged to engage in 2-3 different sports, instead of just one.
Here are some recommended physical activities by children's age group:
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