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Aerobic, Muscle- and Bone-Strengthening: What Counts?

To get you started, here is a list of possible activities that children and adolescents can do to meet the Guidelines. These activities serve as a guide, so encourage your child to do any of them, as long as they are age-appropriate.

Many of these activities fall under two or three different categories, making it possible for your child do each type of activity – vigorous-intensity aerobic, muscle- and bone-strengthening activity – on at least 3 days each week. Also, some activities, such as bicycling or basketball, can be done at either a moderate- or a vigorous-intensity, depending on your child's level of effort.

Age Group
Type of Physical ActivityChildrenAdolescents
Moderate–intensity aerobic
  • Active recreation such as hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading
  • Bicycle riding
  • Walking to school
  • Active recreation, such as canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, skateboarding, rollerblading
  • Brisk walking
  • Bicycle riding (stationary or road bike)
  • House and yard work such as sweeping or pushing a lawn mower
  • Playing games that require catching and throwing, such as baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball

Vigorous –intensity aerobic

  • Active games involving running and chasing, such as tag
  • Bicycle riding
  • Jumping rope
  • Martial arts, such as karate
  • Running
  • Sports such as ice or field hockey, basketball, swimming, tennis or gymnastics
  • Active games involving running and chasing, such as flag football, soccer
  • Bicycle riding
  • Jumping rope
  • Martial arts such as karate
  • Running
  • Sports such as tennis, ice or field hockey, basketball, swimming
  • Vigorous dancing
  • Aerobics
  • Cheerleading or gymnastics

Muscle-strengthening

  • Games such as tug of war
  • Modified push-ups (with knees on the floor)
  • Resistance exercises using body weight or resistance bands
  • Rope or tree climbing
  • Sit-ups
  • Swinging on playground equipment/bars
  • Gymnastics
  • Games such as tug of war
  • Push-ups
  • Resistance exercises with exercise bands, weight machines, hand-held weights
  • Rock climbing
  • Sit-ups
  • Cheerleading or Gymnastics

Bone-strengthening

  • Games such as hop-scotch
  • Hopping, skipping, jumping
  • Jumping rope
  • Running
  • Sports such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, tennis
  • Hopping, skipping, jumping
  • Jumping rope
  • Running
  • Sports such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, tennis

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 2014 State Indicator Report on Physical Activity cover

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