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Activity

Kids need to be even more active than adults. Aim for at least 60 minutes of activity each day – at home, at school, at play – in order for them to get the best possible health benefit.

Being active and eating well every day can help kids have a healthy weight. In Canada, overweight and obesity among children and teens is increasing. And so, health problems related to being overweight are now happening at a much earlier age. And being overweight or obese later in life increases the risk of certain cancers.

The best way to encourage healthy habits in your kids is to model the behaviour itself. If your kids see you being active every day, they are more likely to follow. Try walking, bicycling or skating together. Active family trips like short hikes, a day at the beach, camping, skiing or tobogganing are also a good option. 

  • Get moving

    Making sure kids get the amount of physical activity they need shouldn’t be all work and no play. It should be mostly play! The secret is to find activities they enjoy and to build activity into their everyday routine.

    Tips
    • Keep activity fun. Try tag and hide-and-seek inside or outside.
    • Find something active that your child likes to do, and encourage it. Not every child will enjoy playing a sport or taking dance lessons. If your child has tried an activity and didn’t enjoy it, let it go. Instead, try to find another active pastime they’ll get excited about.
    • Set limits on screen time (TV, video games, computers and other devices). Replace screen time with something active. But when the weather is gloomy and kids are stuck indoors, encourage active video games that include movement or dancing.
    • Build exercise into other things your child likes to do. For example, your heavy reader can get to the library by walking or cycling.
    • Start a “walking school bus” in your neighbourhood rather than getting in the car each morning. Adults can take turns walking a group of children to and from school. Mom, Dad, kids (and the environment) win!
    • Have your pre-teen or teen volunteer with an activity program at the local community centre. This is also an easy way to increase their confidence and experience too.
  • Get outside

    Getting outside is a great way to make sure there’s variety in your approach to being active. Winter, summer, spring or fall – exploring the outdoors gets kids off the couch, and every season brings something new to look at and watch for. Try a family hike in the country or a discovery walk in the city. Explore the downtown in a new town or simply walk to the store with your children rather than getting in the car.

    If you find that winter goes on for too long, taking up a winter sport like skating is a great way to look forward to the season! As long as you’re dressed for the weather, being outside can be great fun.

  • Suggested links for more information

    Public Health Agency of Canada

    Age 5-11

    Age 12-17

    Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology – Sedentary behaviour guidelines

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