Physical activity is important for everyone in
the family. The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics
summarizing the FITT method and includes general fitness tips and an activity
FITT (frequency, intensity, time, and type) is
one way to remember the general guidelines for what should be included in a
fitness plan. Remember, it’s important to keep in mind that each family
member’s fitness goals will be different based on age, sex, current
fitness level, and available resources. Talk with your doctor if you have any
Frequency—Do some type of
physical activity every day.
Intensity?Choose an activity
that is at least moderate in intensity, and also try to add a few more vigorous
activities over the week. Vigorous activity is activity that makes you breathe
hard and sweat. (Reaching a certain heart rate is not necessary.)
|Examples of Moderate Activity||Examples of Vigorous Activity|
|Slow walking (3.5 mph)||Fast walking (4.5 mph)|
|Slow bike riding ([[[lt]]]10 mph)||Fast bike riding (>10 mph)|
|Dancing||Jogging or running|
|Weight lifting?light workout||Aerobics|
|Stretching||Competitive sports: basketball, football, soccer|
Time (duration)?Plan on a
total time of at least 60 minutes of activity each day. This can be done all at
once or added together over several shorter 10- to 15-minute blocks of activity.
Breaking it up into smaller blocks of time is a great way to start a new program
or fit activity into a busy schedule.
Type?The type of activity
can include a variety of team sports, individual sports, recreational
activities, family activities, active hobbies, and walking or bicycling for fun
and transportation. Several times every week do weight- bearing activities that
promote muscle strength, flexibility, and bone health. The most important thing
is to choose something fun!
Make time to be active.
School-aged youth should participate every day in 60 minutes or more of
moderate to vigorous physical activity that is right for their age,
enjoyable, and involves a variety of activities.
Limit sedentary activities.
These are activities where you’re sitting down a lot, like
watching TV, using a cell phone or computer, or playing video games. Spend no more
than 2 hours per day in front of a screen. Visit HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan for tips on how to balance your time.
Keep an activity log. The
use of activity logs can help children and teens keep track of their
exercise programs and physical activity.
Focus on the positive.
Praising participation over winning and encouraging positive behaviors
are important, especially if a child is less active and not as interested in
Be a role model. Parents
are powerful role models and can help shape a child’s perception
Children and teens can be motivated to exercise
more when they keep an activity log. Logs can also be used by parents and health
care professionals to make recommendations for changes or to offer incentives to
encourage their children to be physically active.