Healthy you Children Physical activity

Physical activity

NEW: Physical literacy. Learn how you can give your child the best start by giving them the skills to be active for life.

The early childhood years represent a period of considerable growth and development.  Regular physical activity has a positive impact on the physical, social and cognitive development of children.

Physical activity can help children

  • Develop strong bones and muscles and strengthen the heart and lungs
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Socialize and boost self esteem
  • Improve key cognitive functions, such as creativity, learning & attention span
  • Develop  motor skills and improve coordination and flexibility

    Research suggests that children who participate in physical activity at an early age are more likely to participate in physical activity in later years (Best Start, 2005).

    Guidelines for physical activity


    For health benefits, children aged 5-11 years and youth aged 12-17 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.

    Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4 years)
    Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4 years)

    This should include:

    • Vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week
    • Activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days per week
    • More daily physical activity provides greater health benefits