5 to 18 years
Physical Activity for
5 - 18 years
Physical Activity Guidelines for
Children and Young people
(5 - 18 Years)
1. All children and young people should engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day.
2. Vigorous intensity activities, including those that strengthen muscle and bone, should be incorporated at least three days a week.
3. All children and young people should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.
Individual physical and mental capabilities should be considered when interpreting the guidelines. This list is not exhaustive, and you need to take into consideration the person’s own development when choosing a relevant activity.
Examples of physical activity that meet the guidelines
Moderate intensity physical activities will cause children to get warmer, breathe harder and their hearts to beat faster, but they should still be able to carry on a conversation. Examples include:
- Bike riding
- Playground activities.
Vigorous intensity physical activities will cause children to get warmer, breathe much harder and their hearts to beat rapidly, making it more difficult to carry on a conversation.
- Fast running
- Sports such as swimming or football.
Physical activities that strengthen muscle and bone involve using body weight or working against a resistance. Examples include:
- Swinging on playground equipment
- Hopping and skipping
- Sports such as gymnastics or tennis.
- Minimising sedentary behaviour may include:
- Reducing time spent watching TV, using the computer or playing video games
- Breaking up sedentary time, such as swapping a long bus or car journey for walking part of the way.
What are the benefits of being active for at least 60 minutes each day?
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Maintains a healthy weight
- Improves bone health
- Improves self-confidence
- Develops new social skills.
For further information and advice on GoDoActive and physical activities aimed at your age group, click on the database link above or contact: