It isn’t just your older kids who need to keep their bodies moving all day long. For the first time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour for infants, ages one to two and ages three to four. And they might need to move around more than you’d expect.
The WHO estimates that more than 23 per cent of adults and 80 per cent of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active. That activity needs to start right from infancy to shape habits that will persist throughout childhood and into adulthood.
Infants (less than one year old)
- Should get at least 30 minutes per day in the prone position (that is, “tummy time”), and it can be spread throughout the day. In addition, the more interactive floor-based play you can get them, the better.
- Should not be restrained for more than one hour at a time. This includes strollers, high chairs and baby carriers.
Ages One To Two
- Should get at least 180 minutes per day of a variety of physical activities. The activities themselves can be any level of intensity and spread throughout the day. And, of course, more is better.
- Should not be restrained for more than one hour at a time. This includes strollers, high chairs and carriers.
Ages Three To Four
- Should get at least 180 minutes per day of a variety of physical activities. At least 60 of those minutes should be at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity. And, of course, more is better.
- Should not be restrained for more than an hour at a time, such as in a stroller, or sit for extended periods of time.
Ages Five and up
We already knew (from both the WHO and the US government) that kids ages five and up should get at least an hour per day of physical activity that is moderate-to-vigorous in intensity. We have tips to help your kids get a variety of aerobic, bone-strengthening and muscle-strengthening exercises to meet that goal.
In the new exercise guidelines for Americans, children get their own section. We don’t always think about how much our kids move around, but we probably should. More exercise means better sleep and a better mood, not to mention setting kids up for a healthier adulthood.
And since you’re supposed to get at least 150 minutes in per week yourself, maybe you can join them!