Babies and children need to be physically active every day as an important part of their healthy growth and development.
Activity of any intensity should be encouraged, including light activity and more energetic physical activity.
How to introduce physical activity into your daily routine
Babies should be encouraged to be active throughout the day. Before your baby begins to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, including tummy time.
Once babies can move around encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe environment.
For more ideas, see the keeping kids active advice from the NHS.
Children who can walk on their own should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (three hours).
The 180 minutes could include light activity such as standing up, moving around, rolling and playing, as well as more energetic activity like skipping, hopping, running and jumping.
Active play, such as using a climbing frame, riding a bike, playing in water, chasing games and ball games, is the best way for this age group to get moving.
To maintain a basic level of health, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need to do:
at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – this should range from moderate activity, such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running and tennis
on three days a week, these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles, such as push-ups, and exercises for strong bones, such as jumping and running.
Many vigorous activities can help you build strong muscles and bones, including anything involving running and jumping, such as gymnastics, martial arts and football.
Children and young people should reduce the time they spend sitting watching TV, playing computer games and travelling by car when they could walk or cycle instead.
Two types of activity - light and energetic
Light activity for children includes a range of activities, such as:
- standing up
- moving around
- less energetic play
Energetic activities suitable for most children who can walk on their own include:
- active play (such as hide and seek and stuck in the mud)
- running around
- jumping on a trampoline
- riding a bike
- skipping rope
Find out more
Our family centres offer a range of free fun activities to keep children aged under-five active.
There are a variety of sports and activities available for families within Hammersmith and Fulham.
For more information on the recommended physical activity for children aged under-five, download these NHS factsheets: