Physical Activity

Children ages 3 through 5 should be physically active throughout the day for optimal growth and development. This includes walking, running, dancing, gymnastics, climbing or playing on a jungle gym. Children ages 6 through 17 should have 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each day, and bone and muscle-building activity at least 3 days a week. Examples include walking, running, jumping, climbing, bicycling, sports like football or basketball, and weight-lifting (when they become of adolescent age).

For adults, a mix of moderate or vigorous aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities are recommended. This can include brisk walking, jogging or running for a total of 2.5-5 hours a week, along with 2 days of major muscle group strengthening (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). You may want to consult with your doctor first before starting any new fitness routine.

For pregnant or postpartum women, moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking for 30 minutes several times a week, has many positive effects during and after your pregnancy. It will keep your heart and lungs healthy, help improve your mood and help maintain a healthy weight. Yoga is also a great way to keep in shape and help you breathe and relax. As a precaution, check with your doctor first before starting any exercise regimen.

Older adults, like others, should move more and sit less. Physical activity is one of the best things you can do to prevent health problems that come with age and to help keep you independent. As long as your conditions allow, a great regimen to start is a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day several times a week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises 2 or more days a week. Yoga is great for strengthening, stretching and balance. As mentioned above, check with your doctor first before starting any exercise routine.  

There are many different types of exercise: competitive sports like football, basketball, volleyball, hockey and tennis, or recreational like cycling, dancing, hiking, skiing, swimming, yoga and Pilates.  Even everyday activities like gardening or washing your car will increase your heart rate and burn calories. Choose what you enjoy and what is appropriate for the level shape you are in.

If you and/or your children are participating in activities such as bicycling, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, always remember to put on a helmet to prevent injuries. 

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