Youth and Physical Activity

the Move Your Way® campaign by

move your way®

Both kids and parents need physical activity to stay healthy — and the Move Your Way® campaign has lots of tips to help families move together.

Use these materials provided by to help parents and caregivers understand the amount and types of physical activity adults and kids need to be healthy.

Physical activity is crucial for children’s overall health and development. Here are some key reasons why it is important for children to get regular physical activity:

Physical Health: Regular physical activity helps children develop and maintain healthy bodies. It promotes strong bones, muscles, and joints, improves cardiovascular health, and enhances overall physical fitness. Engaging in physical activity from an early age can help reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.

Motor Skill Development: Physical activity allows children to develop and improve their motor skills. Through activities like running, jumping, climbing, throwing, and catching, children enhance their coordination, balance, agility, and overall motor control. These skills are not only important for sports and recreational activities but also for daily tasks such as writing, dressing, and navigating the environment.

Cognitive Development: Research suggests that physical activity positively influences cognitive function and academic performance. Regular exercise has been linked to improved attention span, memory, problem-solving skills, and overall cognitive abilities. Physical activity also promotes brain health by increasing blood flow and oxygenation, which supports the growth and development of the brain.

Emotional Well-being: Physical activity plays a significant role in promoting positive emotional well-being in children. Exercise releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that elevate mood and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Regular physical activity can improve self-esteem, boost confidence, and help children develop a positive body image. It also provides an outlet for managing and expressing emotions, reducing behavioral issues and promoting better emotional regulation.

Social Development: Participating in physical activities, whether team sports or group activities, allows children to develop important social skills. They learn how to interact with peers, cooperate, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and work as part of a team. Physical activity provides opportunities for building friendships, fostering social connections, and developing a sense of belonging and community.

Healthy Habits for Life: Encouraging physical activity in childhood establishes a foundation for a lifelong habit of regular exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. Children who engage in physical activity are more likely to grow up to be active adults, reducing their risk of sedentary-related diseases and improving their overall quality of life.

It is recommended that children and adolescents (aged 6-17) engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. This can include a variety of activities such as active play, sports, active transportation (e.g., walking or biking), and structured exercise programs. The specific types and intensity of physical activity may vary based on age, abilities, and personal preferences.

It’s important to create an environment that supports and encourages physical activity for children, providing opportunities for active play, access to safe spaces, and promoting a positive attitude towards exercise and movement.