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What is physical activity?

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

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)
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Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

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