Playground Exercise – How much do Children need?

Playground exercise plays a vital role in a child’s development. Here we take a look at why it is so essential and why schools have an important role to fulfill.

There’s a lot of evidence to prove exercise plays a key role in reducing the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer. Research also shows that regular physical activity can boost our self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, making us less prone to stress, depression and dementia. But due to our modern lifestyles and an increasing reliance on technology – both for work and for entertainment – we are less active nowadays as adults and as children.

Studies indicate that inactive children are likely to become inactive adults, putting young people at risk of developing life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and cancer. This is why it’s important to encourage exercise and fitness from a young age.

The benefits of regular exercise in children?

Regular exercise has a host of health benefits for children and young people, such as:

  • improving fitness,
  • providing an opportunity to socialise,
  • increasing concentration,
  • improving academic scores,
  • building a stronger heart, bones and healthier muscles,
  • encouraging healthy growth and development,
  • improving self-esteem,
  • improving posture and balance,
  • lowering stress,
  • encouraging a better night’s sleep.
How much exercise is right?

The NHS recommends that children and young people aged 5 – 18 years old should take part in moderate to vigorous physical activities for at least 60 minutes each day. This is a minimum level, and up to several hours is preferable. Moderate intensity activity means working hard enough to raise your heartbeat, so you breathe harder and begin to sweat, but are still able to talk. Vigorous intensity activity means that your heart rate and breathing is harder and faster and talking is more difficult. Examples include running, swimming and playing a sport.

Creating the perfect space for playground exercise

During term time, children spend most of their day at school. In the winter terms this obviously includes the majority of daylight hours. If children are to get the recommended period of exercise, this must happen throughout the school day. Clearly there is an important role for schools to play in encouraging physical exercise and providing the surroundings to facilitate it.

At Playcubed, we have been creating school playground spaces for over 40 years. We fully understand the need for playground exercise, and how to make the most of the space you have available. If you are looking to improve your school’s play provision, get in touch today to discuss how we can create a space that gets – and keeps – children active.

Speak to the play experts