Daily Exercise Good for Kids’ Brains, New Guidelines Report

Daily Exercise Good for Kids’ Brains, New Guidelines Report

When it comes to kids’ overall health, exercise is hard to beat.

Besides helping prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes, exercise strengthens the heart, bones and lungs. It can improve mood and sleep. It’s linked to sharper focus and better academic performance. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are more common among kids dealing with trauma from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). And experts say kids who exercise every day are likely to feel calmer at home and school.

Now, for the first time in 10 years, the government has updated its recommendations on exercise. For kids, the new guidelines are simple:

–For preschoolers, active play throughout the day, every day (this is the government’s first-ever guideline for preschoolers and exercise)

–For children 6 to 17, 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity every day (i.e., exercise that gets the heart pumping); and

–three days a week of muscle- and bone-strengthening activities, such as jump-rope or running

–For adults, a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week, plus muscle- strengthening twice a week, such as yoga, weight-lifting and Pilates

The recommendations aren’t that different from the old guidelines, but only one in five Americans meets them – a finding linked to higher levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other preventable ills.

“A physically active lifestyle leads to a healthier brain during youth,” Charles Hillman, director of the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University, told National Public Radio. “What we find is that a single bout of exercise has a beneficial effect on brain function.”

The bottom line:  Turn off that cell phone, grab a softball or jump rope and help your kids get active—for their sake and yours.


HHS Releases Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2018, November 12). Retrieved by https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2018/11/12/hhs-releases-physical-activity-guidelines-americans-2nd-edition.html

Piercy, K.L., et al. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2018, November 20). Journal of the American Medical Association. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/271293