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Recommendation on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents

Updated recommendation for children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years

At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day

All children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years are recommended to be physically active in a versatile, brisk and strenuous manner for at least 60 minutes a day in a way that suits the individual, considering their age. Excessive and extended sedentary activity should be avoided.

Picture 1. Key points of the recommendation on physical activity for children and adolescents.

Based on the best scientific evidence, the recommendation on physical activity for children and adolescents describes how much and what kind of physical activity children and adolescents need in order to ensure their wellbeing.

According to the recommendation, it is good to be physically active every day of the week, most of the physical activity being endurance activity. Vigorous endurance-type activity and physical activity that increases the strength of the musclular and skeletal system should be performed at least three days a week. Physical activity should be versatile, in which case different movement skills develop. Attention should also be paid to flexibility.

The recommended amount of physical activity can be accumulated from several sessions of physical activity during the day. A smaller amount of physical activity is also beneficial, even if the recommendation is not met every day.

The joy of physical activity helps to create a lasting physical activity routine and find lasting hobbies. All children and adolescents should engage in daily physical activity that is safe and equally available to everyone.

All children and adolescents should be physically active every day

Physical activity recommendations apply equally to all children and adolescents, regardless of their potential disability, difficulty in motor learning or minority status. It is important to encourage children and adolescents to be physically active, and to provide all children and adolescents with opportunities to participate safely and equally in activities that are appropriate to their age and abilities and that are enjoyable and offer variety.

It would be good to distribute the recommended amount of physical activity evenly between different days of the week and to be physically active on most days of the week, not just 1–2 days a week. Physical activity, in this context, includes all kinds of physical activity, such as play and games, physical activity and sports, physical activity during the school day as part of physical education, breaks or lessons, physical activity during leisure time independently or in connection with hobbies or sports activities or as part of housework, and moving actively from one place to another, for instance by walking, cycling or in a wheelchair.

Improve endurance 3 times a week

Increase your heart rate and frequency of breathing.

Would you like e.g. swimming, brisk walks, cycling, running, soccer, basketball, ice skating or cross-country skiing?

Strengthen your muscles and bones 3 times a week

Remember flexibility, balance and agility.

Would you like e.g. floorball, badminton, volleyball, skateboarding, dance, parkour or climbing?

Stay energetic

Take breaks during prolonged sedentary periods

Could you e.g. stretch your legs once an hour, limit your screen time or do break exercises?

Increase wellness

Move whenever you can

Supplement your sport activities with everyday physical activity.
Could you e.g. walk or cycle to school, take the stairs instead of the elevator or take the dog for a walk?

Recover from the day

Get enough sleep

Give time for your brain to structure thoughts and form new ones.

Source

The working group for the recommendation on physical activity for children and adolescents appointed by the coordination body for sports policy. Recommendation on physical activity for children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years. 2021. Report series of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland 2021:19.

Last updated: 18.5.2022

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