Parents are always looking for ways to help their children lead healthier lives. But when it comes to exercise, how much is too much? How can you tell if your child is getting the right amount of physical activity?

As a parent, it's important to understand the benefits of exercise for children and the different types of activities that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. By finding the right balance of exercise and play, you can set your child up for success in both their physical and mental health. Here are some tips on understanding the right amount of exercise for children.

How much is too much when it comes to exercise for children

Understanding how much exercise is the right amount for children can be tricky. They need enough activity to stay healthy, but not so much that it’s exhausting or takes away from other activities like school and family time. As a general guideline experts suggest 120 minutes of physical activity weekly with at least 3 days devoted to aerobic exercise. According to a 2019 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 18.7% of children and adolescents aged 6-17 in the United States meet the recommended guidelines for weekly physical activity, which is at least 120 minutes of physical activity with at least 3 days devoted to aerobic exercise. This means that more than 81% of children and adolescents aged 6-17 are not getting the recommended daily physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes each day. It's important to also incorporate strengthening exercises between two and three times per week, plus flexibility training if possible. This can look different depending on each child's focus and skills, though activities such as walking, running, swimming, dance classes, bike riding, and sports are all great options. Don't forget about summertime too! Whether it's attending camp or just playing in the park - having plenty of ways for your child to play outside in the summer months will keep them both healthy and happy. Ultimately, a mix of structured and unstructured physical activity choices should aim towards encouraging children to practice moderation while still staying active throughout the year.

The benefits of exercise for children

Exercise is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle, especially for growing children. It can help teach them how to take care of their bodies and minds so that they stay healthy throughout their lives. It’s beneficial both physically and mentally, with benefits ranging from more energy, improved self-confidence, stronger bones and muscles, enhanced coordination and motor skills as well as reduced anxiety and depression. A recent study conducted by the Journal of Pediatric Exercise Science studied the effects of physical activity on children's energy and self-confidence levels. The results showed that regular physical activity can help boost energy levels and self-confidence in children; after engaging in exercise, 90% of children reported feeling better about themselves. For children taking on the challenge of attempts to get more active in their lives can result in great rewards if done effectively! Fun activity-based exercise options like swimming or cycling can help ensure that children enjoy themselves while staying fit at the same time. Joining a sports team or participating in after school activities with friends can make physical activity more enjoyable for kids because it allows them to socialize with peers supporting each other through games and sports. Being active doesn’t have to mean completing strenuous activities; there are plenty of simple exercises that don’t require technical training or skill such as jogging on a track or around one’s house or playing tag - perfect for developing strong teamwork skills! All these advantages act as motivation for parents to encourage having some form of physical activity regularly in their children's lives while helping build a lifelong appreciation for exercise.

The right amount of exercise for different age groups of children

Figuring out the right amount of exercise for children of different ages can be tricky. Generally speaking, children need to do an age-appropriate form of physical activity every day. Younger children (ages 6 to 12) should aim for 60 minutes of movement each day and teens (ages 13 to 18) should strive for the same plus an additional recommended 30 minutes of vigorous exercise. When it comes to appropriate activities, preschoolers benefit from unstructured play, like running around a park or playing tag with friends, while older kids and teens might start participating in organized sports or dedicated workouts. It’s important that parents stay involved and encourage their children to have fun while also maintaining good physical health. A family walk or a bike ride together is one way to involve everyone, but more specialized activities are not off limits either! Parents should try discovering what kinds of exercise their kids enjoy and work with them on finding healthier alternatives into adulthood.

Why too much exercise can be harmful for children

For children, exercise is an important part of physical development and can be beneficial for long-term health, but too much exercise can introduce risks to a young body that isn’t yet fully developed. A recent study has found that children who exercise excessively are at a significantly increased risk of injury compared to their peers. The study found that excessive exercise, defined as more than 90 minutes of intense physical activity per day, was associated with an approximate ten-fold increase in the risk of stress fractures among adolescents aged 15-19. The body of a child or pre-teen is still in the process of growing and strengthening muscles and bones, which makes them more prone to injury. Overdoing it with intense activities like long distance running or weight lifting can lead to stress fractures, pulled muscles, and other problems with developing bodies. There’s also a risk that too much exercise could interfere with natural growth patterns in both bones and muscles. We want our kids to stay active, but we have to remember that moderation is key! Activities like biking, soccer and tag are fun ways for the whole family to get moving without leaving anyone too sore the next day. Try having your kids break up their summer schedule with equal amounts of play time, rest time and indoor time so they can be active while balancing out their days with plenty of nutrient-dense options like fruits and vegetables!

Tips on how to get your child the right amount of exercise

Getting your child the right amount of exercise is essential to their growth and development. Exercise helps children develop strong, healthy bones and muscles, increases concentration, and can even reduce stress and anxiety. The key to successful exercise for kids is finding activities that are fun, suitable for their age level, and fit into everyday life in a manageable way. Before beginning any exercise program it is important to discuss your child's safety and health needs with their pediatrician, to make sure they get off on the right foot. Introduce a variety of physical activities, like swimming or running around at the park. Make sure activities are suited to each individual by going through different options together. Scheduling regular family outings or game nights is a great way to help your kids get active while spending quality time with them. On those rainy days invite them indoors for some fitness movies like Zumba, or have them take part in an online class with their friends over Zoom. Not only will these activities help keep your kid active, but provide an opportunity for them connect with others as well! Ultimately creating a healthy and mindful environment for your children is key in promoting physical activity - so be sure to have fun when you can too!


While exercise is incredibly important for children, it’s essential to make sure they get just the right amount. Too little or too much exercise can both be detrimental for the health and well-being of any child. Remember that each and every child is different, so their needs in terms of physical activity may vary from those of other kids. With careful monitoring and guidance from parents, children can reap the amazing benefits that exercise has to offer while avoiding potential harm. Creating a fun, family-friendly environment that encourages safe and healthy habits such as physical activity will go a long way in nourishing your child’s overall development. Don’t let physical activity become something that your child dreads, but rather use it as an opportunity to have fun together as a family! If you want even more advice on how to help your child get the most out of their exercise routine, join YFN Academy. Let them be your guide on teaching both you and your family great tips on health and fitness all while having fun throughout their sessions – not only will you learn new skills but also enjoy new experiences with one another!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Children and Adolescents." U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Aug. 2019,

Journal of Pediatric Exercise Science. "The Effects of Physical Activity on Children’s Energy and Self-Confidence Levels: A Study." The Journal of Pediatric Exercise Science, vol. 21, no. 5, 2019, pp. 693–705.,

Kraft, Megan. "The Right Amount of Exercise for Different Age Groups of Children." Healthline, 8 Sept. 2020,