Encouraging kids to hop, skip, and jump: Emphasizing the need for higher-intensity physical activity in childcare

Introduction: Daily physical activity (PA) participation is crucial to the health and well-being of young children. Along with total physical activity (TPA; all-intensity), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), or energetic play, is associated with greater health benefits, particularly for preschoolers (3–4 years), including but not limited to improved bone and skeletal properties and cognitive and psychosocial health.1 Centered on this, both Canada and Australia have recently established 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years, recommending that children 2–4 years engage in at least 180 min of any-intensity activity per day, with children 3 years and older spending a minimum of 60 min of this time in higher-intensity energetic play.2, 3 To date, activity promotion among this cohort has focused on increasing movement at any intensity. In light of the recent shift in focus to higher-intensity activity, steps are warranted to augment time spent in developmentally appropriate energetic play, focusing on a variety of unstructured (e.g., active free play)4 and structured aerobic activities (e.g., dance) for optimal health.1 Introducing regular, higher-intensity activity from a young age will set children on the right track to meeting PA guidelines across the lifespan.

Introduction: Daily physical activity (PA) participation is crucial to the health and well-being of young children. Along with total physical activity (TPA; all-intensity), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), or energetic play, is associated with greater health benefits, particularly for preschoolers (3–4 years), including but not limited to improved bone and skeletal properties and cognitive and psychosocial health.1 Centered on this, both Canada and Australia have recently established 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years, recommending that children 2–4 years engage in at least 180 min of any-intensity activity per day, with children 3 years and older spending a minimum of 60 min of this time in higher-intensity energetic play.2, 3 To date, activity promotion among this cohort has focused on increasing movement at any intensity. In light of the recent shift in focus to higher-intensity activity, steps are warranted to augment time spent in developmentally appropriate energetic play, focusing on a variety of unstructured (e.g., active free play)4 and structured aerobic activities (e.g., dance) for optimal health.1 Introducing regular, higher-intensity activity from a young age will set children on the right track to meeting PA guidelines across the lifespan.

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