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93% of Canadian children are not getting enough exercise #parenting #health

Winter child exercise

With all the advances in technology, it may not come as a surprise that our children are less physically active then we (or our parents, grandparents, etc.) were, but a new report has some scary findings: 93% of Canadian children are not getting enough exercise. Let’s break that down into a percentage – it means only 7% of Canadian children are getting the exercise they need. And if that doesn’t scare you, this will: 1 in 4 children aged 2 to 5 are overweight or obese.


The Many Benefits of Exercise

As we all know, exercise keeps our body’s healthy and our minds alert. In addition to building stronger muscles and bones and leaner bodies, active children are also less likely to become overweight which decreases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But that’s not all, children who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges. As parents, it is our responsibility to provide our children with the proper amount of physical activities, even during the brutally cold winter months us Canadians know so well.


Getting your children active, come snow or shine:

So in true Canuk fashion, I have put together a list of sports and activities – many of which are free – that your children could benefit from this winter. My boys (almost 2 and 4) are actively engaged in sports and daily physical activities all year round and LOVE it – as I’m sure your children will too :) Just remember – your school age children need approximately 60 minutes of exercise a DAY, but your preschool child needs at least 2 hours – so whatever it is you are planning, be sure to make it fun and enjoyable for everyone involved! And one more tip: don’t forget you can break up your children’s exercise routine into smaller, more manageable blocks of time to keep things interesting – and on schedule! :)


Exercise Outdoors – bundle up and head outside:

  • Go sledding or play outdoor tag!
  • Go skating or skiing as a family!
  • Go snow-shoeing, make snow-angels or play hockey!
  • Shovel the driveway – and your neighbour’s driveway, too!
  • Build a snowman – along with his whole family!
  • Go on a winter scavenger hunt or visit an outdoor zoo!


Exercise Indoors – head inside for some fun:

  • Participate in yoga or martial arts!
  • Go swimming or climb an indoor rock wall!
  • Take dance lessons – ballet, hip-hop, tap, whatever!
  • Have a dance party or play a few games of hop-scotch!
  • Go to gymnastics or create a tricky indoor obstacle course!
  • Play a game of soccer or Simon Says!
  • Play a game of tug-of-war or leap frog!
  • For a fun family game night – play a Wii Fit game together!

child exercise question

Most children are not getting enough exercise. Are your children getting what they need?

Are you currently meeting the recommended guidelines for your children’s physical fitness? If so, we want to know what they’ve been up to! If not, share with us how you plan to keep your children physically active each day! 


30 Responses to "93% of Canadian children are not getting enough exercise #parenting #health"

  • I do not have any children-but the statistics are staggering!! Too bad we live in a day and age where you can not just say to your kids–Go out and play with your friends but have to be with them–these are very good suggestions!

    1 Michele said this (December 7, 2012 at 12:28 PM)

    • I know, it’s a little bit depressing, right? Not to mention with every family around here having at least one car, no one walks anywhere anymore! Thanks for stopping by, Michele!

      2 Jenn said this (December 7, 2012 at 12:45 PM)

  • It is the same in the US, very sad and depressing! All they do is sit around and play video games or watch TV. What happened to imagination, too? It really shocks me to see how children are today, and I will not let my children grow up like this. They will play outside and be active and use their imagination.

    3 Alaina Bullock said this (December 7, 2012 at 2:52 PM)

    • Amen to that!!

      4 Jenn said this (December 7, 2012 at 7:08 PM)

  • We need to get out and move at my house.

    5 JDaniel4's Mom said this (December 9, 2012 at 8:44 AM)

    • I hear ya! :)

      6 Jenn said this (December 9, 2012 at 11:30 AM)

  • My niece took her daughter to a birthday party last night and they had one of these. Great exercise indeed!

    7 kim said this (December 10, 2012 at 9:30 AM)

    • Had one of what?

      8 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 11:31 AM)

  • Seems to be a chronic first world problem. We recently joined the Y and go daily to work out in the gym and go swimming. Its nice getting out of the house and working out for a bit.

    9 Deb said this (December 10, 2012 at 9:52 AM)

    • I completely agree – and way to go, by the way! :)

      10 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 11:23 AM)

  • This is really sad, but not surprising news. I’m wondering with the recommendations are for children’s daily exercise?

    11 Jennifer said this (December 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM)

    • Hey Jennifer! For Canadian children, the recommendation for school age children is approximately 60 minutes of exercise per day, but preschool children need at least 2 hours every day. I’m not sure if I think that’s a little, or a lot! LOL

      12 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM)

  • It always blows my mind how kids are not getting enough exercise. My daughter repeats, I want to go outside, all day long….sometimes even in her sleep! She is a very active little girl! We just had a big snowstorm here yesterday, and she LOVES it! As soon as she woke up, she said, mama, it snowed outside, it snowed a lot! We couldnt’ get out there fast enough.

    13 Shannon Stubbs said this (December 10, 2012 at 11:12 AM)

    • That melts my heart! I love the snow too :)

      14 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM)

  • We try to get outside as much as we can, weather permitting. Otherwise, we’ll dance indoors or march around the room and sing “head shoulders knees and toes.” My daughter is almost 2.

    15 shelly said this (December 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM)

    • That’s awesome, Shelly!!

      16 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM)

  • if my children are not involved in a sport it is tough to get them out there to excersie especially in the winter.

    17 maria @close to home said this (December 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM)

    • I hear ya! It’s a good thing there are lots of things to do inside on those brutally cold days!

      18 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM)

  • Those statistics are so sad! I work in a preschool and we usually let the kids play outside for 2 hours everyday. If the weather’s bad and they can’t go out, you can totally tell a difference in their behavior.

    19 Rebekah said this (December 10, 2012 at 12:56 PM)

    • So true!!

      20 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 2:41 PM)

  • No your probably 100% correct! It is hard in the winter to meet the requirements!

    21 Melissa said this (December 10, 2012 at 1:40 PM)

    • Very true!

      22 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 2:44 PM)

  • I make sure we are out as much as possible. Even in the winter if the temperature is above 30, we go outside!

    23 mel said this (December 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM)

    • Mel, you’re making me Google the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius to figure out what 30 degrees is, LOL! :p

      24 Jenn said this (December 10, 2012 at 2:43 PM)

  • No matter what the country, I always think it is super important to keep our children active and healthy! Great tips :)

    25 Ashley said this (December 10, 2012 at 10:06 PM)

    • I agree! Thanks for stopping by, Ashley!

      26 Jenn said this (December 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM)

  • I think because I grew up in a generation with a lot less technology I naturally incorporated a lot of activity into my kids’ days, but it’s such a tougher battle to fight now!

    27 Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said this (December 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM)

    • I hear ya!! Thanks for stopping by, Liz! :)

      28 Jenn said this (December 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM)

  • My kids need to get more exercise because I have a feeling at Christmas they are going to be playing a lot of video games..

    29 Minta said this (December 13, 2012 at 4:29 PM)

    • Ooh is Santa bringing some fun games? ;) We just bought our 4 year old a really cool (or so I think!) WII Fit game that I’m hoping he’ll be really into. Fingers crossed! :)

      30 Jenn said this (December 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM)