Fitness Programmes for Children


Guidelines on the amount of physical activity for children: 

According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, physical activities for children include participating in games and sports competitions, leisure activities, physical education lessons and planned exercise at school and in their family and community life, as well as daily commuting (e.g. walking and cycling).

Children should engage in at least 60 minutes (cumulative) of physical activities of moderate- to vigorous-intensity* a day.
Performing physical activities for more than 60 minutes a day will bring about greater health benefits.
Most of the daily physical activities should be aerobic in nature.  Moreover, physical activities of vigorous-intensity should be planned for at least 3 times a week, in which bone and muscle strengthening exercises should be incorporated.
* "Physical activities of moderate-intensity" are those which will slightly speed up breathing and heart rates, and cause mild sweating but not so intense as to cause fatigue.
* "Physical activities of vigorous-intensity" are those which will greatly speed up breathing and heart rates, and cause profuse sweating and fatigue.
Reference: Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. Geneva: World Health Organization 2010.

Physical activity and energy expenditure  

Take a child aged around 10 years old weighing about 40 kg for example. The energy expended in performing the following physical activities for 30 minutes are as follows:

ItemPhysical ActivityEnergy Expended
1 Mini-tennis 170
2 Volleyball 100
3 Basketball 200
4 Badminton 110
5 Slow Long-distance Swimming 200
6 Cycling 150
7 Running/ Jogging 200
8 Rope Skipping 200
9 Dancing 130
10 Gymnastics 100
11 Aerobic Dancing 150
12 Walking 90
13 Stair Climbing 170

Remark : The information shown above is for reference only. The actual amount of energy expended may vary with age, gender, physical fitness, skill level and intensity of the activity.

Reference :

  • J. S. Harrell, R. G. Mcmurray, C. D. Baggett, M. L. Pennell, P. F. Pearce, and S. I. Bangdiwala, Energy Costs of Physical Activities in Children and Adolescents, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
  • K. Ridley, B. E. Ainsworth and T. S. Olds, Development of a Compendium of Energy Expenditures for Youth, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, BioMed Central Ltd.

To lead an active and healthy lifestyle: 

To foster a family culture of regular exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle, parents should set a good example and do some exercise together with their children.  The following activities are suitable for doing with children:

1. Go jogging or take a fitness walk after meals.
2. Play more parent-child games and do more physical activities and circuit training at home; reduce TV or screen time.
3. Get off the vehicle one or two stops earlier; take a walk instead of a vehicle ride for short journeys; take the stairs instead of the lift more often.
4. Play table tennis and badminton in sports centres or go running in sports grounds on holidays.
5. Go cycling, kite flying or hiking on weekends.
6. Participate in school or community activities more often, such as sports days, carnivals and fun days.

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