How much physical activity should children get daily?

Our recommendation

Kids need to be even more active than adults. They need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day – at home, at school, at play – to get their heart going and to get the best possible health benefit.

It’s good for kids’ bodies to get a variety of exercise. Encourage children to be active in many different ways.

A kid on a skateboard outside

Moderate aerobic activity

These activities are good fun and good exercise:

  • walking quickly
  • skating
  • cycling
  • skateboarding
A kid on a skateboard outside
Three kids playing basketball in a gym

Vigorous aerobic activity

These are great activities that get hearts working hard:

  • running or jogging
  • jumping rope
  • sports like basketball or hockey
  • active games like tag
Three kids playing basketball in a gym
Two children playing hopscotch

Strengthening activity

These activities build up muscles:

  • push-ups and sit-ups
  • swinging on playground equipment
  • climbing trees

These activities help make bones stronger:

  • hopping
  • skipping
  • jumping
Two children playing hopscotch
For Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, visit the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.

6 ways to inspire an active lifestyle in your child

Every parent wants their child to start on a path toward a long and healthy life. You can help your children reduce their risk of cancer and chronic diseases by making physical activity a part of each day. The secret is to find activities your child enjoys and to build activity into the way you live. If your kids see you being active every day, they are more likely to be active too.

Play active games with your kids starting at a young age

Games like tag and hide-and-seek inside or outside are easy and require no equipment. Be a kid again and play games like leapfrog and hopscotch.

Encourage your child to try new activities and sports

There's a wide range of activities in communities and in schools across Canada. If your child isn't set on one activity in particular, make it a fun mission to try something new every season.

Set limits on screen time

It's hard to tear your kids away from TV, video games, tablets and other screens, but the less screen time the better! Aim for no more than 2 hours per day. And even less than that for children under 5.

Build exercise into other things your child likes to do

Observe what your child does naturally and think of ways you can add physical activity.

  • Do they love to read? Walk or cycle to the library.
  • Are they always jumping on the furniture? Invest in a small trampoline for the backyard or gymnastics lessons.
  • Do they love playing video games? Consider games that involve active movement, like baseball, basketball, ball hockey, golf, soccer or others.
  • Are animals their favourite thing? Take them to a local farm or zoo to explore the environment on foot.
Get outside more

As a family, think of activities you can enjoy together in every season. Take advantage of seasonal activities like swimming in summer and skating in winter. Also consider ways to enjoy the outdoors all year long. Ideas include:

  • hiking in the country
  • exploring your city or community on foot
  • playing in the park
  • birdwatching
Start a walking school bus

Instead of driving your kids to school every day, get together with your neighbours to take turns walking a group of children to and from school. You'll benefit from the activity too!