Physical Activity

Physical activity has numerous health benefits for children

Not only does it improve a child’s overall health and fitness, it can also help to improve their mental and cognitive development. Despite the widely reported benefits of physical activity, most adults and children are not meeting the daily recommendations. Research indicated that inactive children are likely to become inactive adults therefore it’s important to encourage exercise and healthy behaviours from an early age. 

Benefits of Regular exercise for young people

Improves fitness building strong heart, bones and muscles

Opportunities to socialise

Increased concentration and learning

Lowers stress and supports emotional

Encouraging growth and development

self-esteem and confidence 

Better sleep and energy levels

Reducing the risk of disease in later life

PA guidelines

Physical Activity Guidelines

Children and young people age 5 – 18 should take part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, plus muscle and bone strengthening activities three days per week. 

They should also reduce the time they spend sitting for extended periods or time; such as time spent watching TV, playing computer and video games or swapping a car or bus journey for walking part of the way.


A variety of resources for children and their families on healthy eating and physical activity: including Disney 10-minute shake-ups for kids to do anywhere with their friends.

Physical Activity & Sport in Schools

Schools play a crucial role in promoting a healthy lifestyle and should give pupils plenty of opportunities to be physically active during school time. 

The government recommends that schools should:

  • Offer two hours of PE a week 
  • Should support pupils to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This should be delivered through active break times, PE and extra-curricular clubs, active lessons or other sport and physical activity events at school. The remaining 30 minutes supported by parents and carers outside of school time.
daily mile logo

The Daily Mile aims to improve the physical, emotional and social healthy and wellbeing of school children, regardless of their age or personal circumstances. It is a simple but effective concept which a primary or nursery school can implement free of charge without the need for staff training. Every day for fifteen minutes children can run, jog or walk at their own pace with their classmates, improving their fitness, concentration levels, mood, behaviour and general well-being. 

If you are interested in setting up the daily mile in your school – download the Setting Up The Daily Mile Guide

Headteacher Alison Wyld of Harmans Water Primary School tells us how The Daily Mile is making an impact at the school

What works in schools to increase physical activity

A resource for head teachers, college, principals, staff working in education settings, school nurses, directors of public health, county sports partnerships and wider partners.

Promoting physical activity for children and young people

A summary of selected new evidence relevant to NICE public health guidance

Change4life evidence review

Rapid evidence review on the effect of physical activity participation among children aged 5 to 11 years

Resources for Schools on Physical Activity

Schools play a crucial role in promoting a healthy lifestyle and should give pupils plenty of opportunities to be physically active during school time. The government recommends that schools should support young people to achieve 30 minutes of physical activity a day, through active break times, PE and extra curricular activities. 


Sports clubs to support increased physical activity levels in less active 7 – 9 year olds through multi-sport themes

PHE School Zone

A range of flexible physical activity resources across different subject areas designed to encourage pupils to build healthier habits for life

Shake It Up

If you really want to shake up the type of play primary school children do, you may be interested in this outdoor play initiative which is endorsed by Play England

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