New School Year and Children’s Exercise

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The Global Matrix of child physical activity based on  38 countries placed England, Wales and Scotland as amongst the worst for children’s physical activity with South Africa, New Zealand and Slovenia the best performing.

At the start of the new school year it is useful to remind ourselves of the NHS Physical Activity Guidelines for 5 – 18 year olds. To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do three types of physical activity each week: aerobic exercise and exercises to strengthen bones and muscles.

To maintain a basic level of health, children and young people need to do:

  • At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – this should range from moderate activity such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity such as running and tennis;
  • On three days a week these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles, such as push-ups and exercises for strong bones, such as jumping and running
  • Children and young people should reduce the time they spend watching TV, playing computer games and travelling by car when they could walk or cycle instead.