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Benefits of regular physical activity

Regular physical activity is good for everyone – but it’s particularly important for your kids. The first five years of their life are the most important years for their growth and development. It’s during this time that they’ll develop the habits that they’ll take with them into adulthood.

It’s our responsibility as parents, carers and educators to provide kids around us with opportunities and experiences that positively influence their choices around active play.

Being physically active is one of the key building blocks for a healthy life.

Benefits of regular physical activity

  • Healthy growth and development including being a healthy weight and reducing the risk of disease like diabetes or cancer later in life
  • Building strong hearts, muscles and bones
  • Learning fundamental movement skills
  • Improved movement, balance, coordination and reaction time
  • Increased mental wellbeing
  • Improved social skills, self-esteem and confidence

How physically active do kids need to be?

Take a look at these National Physical Activity Recommendations for children 0-5 years* – are your kids active enough?

Babies from birth-1 year should:

  • be encouraged to be physically active from birth

  • not be inactive for more than one hour at a time except for sleeping

  • not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).

Children aged 1-2 years should:

  • be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day

  • not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time except for sleeping

  • not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).

Children aged 2-3 and 3-5 years should:

  • be physically active for three hours spread throughout the day

  • not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time except for sleeping

  • be limited in their watching of television and use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) to less than one hour a day.

* Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Health and Ageing (2010) Move and Play Every Day, National Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years

If you have older children, have a look at the Australian Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children (5-12 years)