Toddlers need 3 hours exercise each day

The Government is calling for parents to make sure that children under the age of five are exercising for 3 hours each day.

3 Hours Exercise Per Day for Under Fives

3 Hours Exercise Per Day for Under Fives. Photograph: Popofaticus

The new guidelines aim to tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity. According to a recent study, 23% of under-5s are now obese or overweight.

Parents must prioritise

England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, told the Sunday Times, “Play that allows under-fives to move about is critical and three hours a day is essential. I think there are parents who are not aware how important it is for their children to be physically active for a minimum of three hours. Other parents are very busy and may not see how important it is to get that prioritisation and balance right.”

Free fun outdoors

Rosemary Reid, a qualified nursery and primary school teacher, points to Norway as a great example of outdoor play. Reid suggests parents go outside with their children to keep fit and fire the imagination. Once children are outside, they forget that they are actually doing exercise, its all about encouraging children to explore their surroundings.

“Many nurseries across the country are now pursuing a more active engagement with the outdoors. It is important to see the educational opportunities that can be offered indoors as equal to those offered outdoors, both in the immediate and local environment of the nursery. Following a recent educational study visit to nurseries and schools in Norway, I found their attitude to outdoor learning inspiring. They believe that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing and as such, the children can be outdoors in all weathers.

We find in our nursery that the children are gaining so much from this, that many parents are now keen to become involved and in turn, want to take their own children out in the woods, or on long walks instead of going for runs in the car.

The old saying, ‘the best things in life are free’ is apt in that you don’t need a lot of money to provide your child with the exercise needed to grow into healthy adolescent.”

See Mindful Mum’s tips for helping to keep your toddler active.

Department of Health


Popofaticus @ Flickr


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