Physical Activity Resources to Get All Ages Up and Moving!

Family playing soccer

Article written by Laura DeWitt (lauradewitt@unl.edu), RD, SNAP-Ed Extension Assistant

Printer-Friendly PDF

According to the recently-updated second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, all members of the family, including preschool-age children, experience health benefits from moving more.

Adults of all ages still need at least 2½ hours a week of physical activity, and youth ages 6-17 still need at least 60 minutes a day. The updated guidelines now include new evidence-based recommendations to help people stay healthy. Here are some highlights and helpful resources to get all ages up and moving:

Preschool-Aged Children

Preschool-aged children (3-5 years) should be active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Adult caregivers of preschool-aged children should encourage active play (light, moderate, or vigorous intensity) and structured activities, such as throwing games, tag, and bicycle or tricycle riding. To strengthen bones, young children should do activities that involve hopping, skipping, jumping, climbing, running, and tumbling. Aim for at least 3 hours per day of active time. Resources to meet this guideline:

School-Aged Children and Adolescents

It is important to provide young people opportunities and encouragement to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety. Here are some resources to help this age group meet the recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity each day:

Adults

Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. This recommendation is based on new evidence that shows a strong relationship between increased sedentary behavior (sitting) and increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and all-cause mortality in adults. All physical activity, especially moderate-to-vigorous activity (anything that gets your heart beating faster), can help offset these risks. Any amount of physical activity has some health benefits, even in short bouts less than 10 minutes long. Some is better than none. Resources to meet this guideline:

Older Adults

Older adults should include balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities to help lower the risk of fall-related injuries as part of the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity. Resources to meet this guideline:

References:

  1. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans - 2nd Edition, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  2. Physical Activity in Health Promotion Lab, University of Nebraska - Omaha
  3. Food, Nutrition and Health, Nebraska Extension

This article has been peer-reviewed.