Why is regular physical activity so important for kids?

Most of us understand the need to get our children active from an early age. We know by instinct that sitting in front of a screen for hours each day is not doing them any good, particularly in the long-term.

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But what benefits does physical activity actually have for our youngsters? And just how much exercise should they be doing at different ages?

The benefits

Being active from an early age helps build lifelong habits, which will help our youngsters grow into fit and healthy adults. The first five years of a child’s life are especially important, laying as they do, the foundations for a healthy body and lifestyle. Studies show that exercising in the first few years of life helps build a strong body, as well as developing a healthy mind, building self-esteem and allowing us to grow strong muscles, bones and hearts.

Activity also helps improve a child’s balance, reaction and co-ordination – vital skills which will help lead to a healthier future.

How much is the right amount?

The experts believe that the age of a child determines how much activity they should be getting each day.

According to the NHS, even babies should be encouraged to be as active as possible.

Up to the age of one, babies should be encouraged to reach, grasp and play, and as soon as they can crawl they should be allowed to do so (in a safe environment, of course).

Between one and five years old, children should be active for at least two or three hours every day, spread out over the daytime.

After the age of five, they should be getting increased amounts of activity, but no less than an hour each day moving around. This includes walking, cycling or scooting to school, running around in the playground, PE lessons and any sports activities they express an interest in.

Parents should ensure they limit the amount of time children of all ages spend sitting, whether that’s looking at a screen or not, and instead make an effort to get them out and about at every opportunity. One great way to do this is through providing attractive and enticing garden activities, such as wood climbing frames, available from

In this way you will find your children wanting to go outside more often.

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