Physical Activity for Youth
Youth Transitioning into Adults
Youth are in a transition period between being children that depend on adults for their care, and being adults that are completely independent. This can be a very challenging time for youth while they develop their identity/sense of self, independence, and start making life choices. This is a time when their bodies are developing and changing which affects their confidence and comfort with being physically active.
Activity, Sleep and Screen Time – How Much and Tips
It is recommended that:
- Youth age 12–17 be active daily. For example, 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day, including vigorous and strength activities 3 times a week, or more. Make a plan to be more active. You can create a plan on your own or make a family plan.
- Youth reduce sedentary time. Sit less and move more throughout the day.
- Youth reduce screen time. For example, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time per day. Do you find you or your family are “addicted” to your screens? Have a look at our Parenting Tips for Teaching Good Screen Time Habits to your Teen. Another idea is to try to pause your screens and spend that extra time socializing with family and friends and being active. Willing to take the leap? Try our Pause to Play Challenge.
- Youth get enough sleep. For example, children ages 5–13 get 9–11 hours, and youth 14–17 years get 8–10 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, with consistent bed and wake-up times.
- Physical Activity in Pregnancy is also important for the health of mom and baby.
Youth who are physically literate are more active, healthy and engaged.
What is it?
Physical Literacy is developing fundamental movement skills, such as hopping, balancing, running, throwing, catching. This leads to fundamental sport skills, and practicing these in various decision making situations, in a variety of environments: ground, water, snow, ice and air.
Having opportunities to increase physical literacy in youth will build their confidence and competence and will result in:
- Better learning in school
- Better mental and emotional wellbeing
- Improved social skills
- Improved physical health and fitness
- Healthier habits
- Being on a path to becoming active for life
Learning how to build physical literacy is a great place to start. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Trying out new and different activities where a variety of skills can be learned, practiced and then combined into more difficult movements. Examples include gymnastics, swimming, running games, athletic games.
- Making activities fun and challenging, and learning through positive experiences that involve success and failure.
- A gradual introduction to an audience is best. Start off with one person, then two or three, and so on.
- Making sure the activity starts off comfortable and playful and keeping everyone involved together helps to improve the confidence in being active in front of others.
- There are lots of tools for educators in schools to assist them in providing excellent opportunities for physical activity, and to help build physical literacy in youth.
Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds
It is important for youth to have both a healthy body and a healthy mind as each is connected to the other. Ignoring either one could affect your physical and mental health. For tips, have a look at our fact sheets:
Get Youth Involved
Youth have a powerful voice and can bring some amazing ideas to the table.
Find out what schools and municipalities are doing to ensure youth can use active transportation as a means of getting from one place to the next.
Find out what opportunities there are in your community and supports that are available to help youth get involved in activities that they enjoy or would like to try.
Become a youth advocate and work with communities and municipalities to ensure policies, infrastructure and programming include youth, not only as a target, but also as leaders and advocates.
Share your ideas with your community and help to create youth friendly environments, promote youth engagement and positive youth development.