Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsWhat is physical activity? Physical activity is any movement using large muscle groups that rises energy expenditure above resting levels. The body expands energy in three ways. The first of these is the energy required to keep the body systems functioning effectively. This is referred to as resting metabolic rate and includes heart beating, breathing, and maintaining body temperature. This is responsible for about 60% of the body's energy expenditure. The second is the energy required by the body to break or metabolize the food and drinks that it can chew. This is responsible for around 10% of energy expenditure. The remaining 30% of energy expenditure is referred to as physical activity energy expenditure and includes the body movements made using the large muscles.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 secondsThis is the only type of energy that can be modified and is the type of energy expenditure that is used for physical activity.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 secondsPhysical activity for young children comprises many different activities and varies greatly from birth to five years. It could be participated in many locations, for example, inside and outside the house, at formal childcare, and within the local neighborhood or parks. Activities for the babies and infants include tummy time, kicking legs, rolling over, and crawling. Then as children become older and stronger, physical activity includes walking, running, climbing, balancing, swinging, hanging, skipping, galloping, catching, throwing, and kicking. As children get older, activities can be categorized as structured or unstructured. It is recommended that young children participate in a mixture of structured and unstructured activities.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 secondsExamples of structured activities include swimming, dance or gymnastics classes, or for children age 5 and older, team sports such as football or basketball. Unstructured physical activities include chasings, tip or tag, throwing and kicking balls, playing on obstacle courses, trampolining, riding bikes and scooters, swinging and sliding, and general outside activities. Play is also a critical way that young children participate in physical activity and is recommended as the main type of activity for young children as it also has many other benefits for a child's development.

What is physical activity?

Physical activity involves the movement of muscle groups in a way that expends energy.

There are three ways that the body expends energy: resting metabolic rate, metabolising food, and physical activity energy.

Graph showing the percentages of the body's energy expenditure. These include resting metabolic rate: 60%, physical activity energy: 30%, energy for metabolising food: 10% (Click to expand)

Physical activity energy is the only type of energy that can be modified and is the type of energy expenditure that is used for physical activity.

Variety is the key!

Participating in a variety of structured and unstructured physical activities is critical for a child’s development.

Physical activities for babies: tummy time, kicking legs, rolling over, and crawling.

Physical activities for toddlers: walking, running, climbing, balancing, swinging, hanging, skipping, galloping, catching, throwing, and kicking.

Structured physical activities: swimming, dance or gymnastics classes.

Unstructured physical activities: playing games, chasings, tip or tag, throwing and kicking balls, playing on obstacle courses, trampolining, riding bikes and scooters, swinging and sliding, and general outdoor activities.

Don’t forget to play!

“Play is also a critical way that young children participate in physical activity and is recommended as the main type of activity for young children as it also has many other benefits for a child’s development” (Prof. Tony Okely, University of Wollongong)

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong