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Movement Experiences for Children
KIN 366
Instructor: Dr. Shannon S.D. Bredin
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Daily Physical Activity refers to any bodily movements, on a daily basis, that are produced by the skeletal muscle (World Health Organization, 2015). Doing so results in energy expenditure, and an increase in heart rate and breathing. It is important to note that it does not need to be planned, structured or repetitive, and may easily be incorporated to daily life (Taylor, Spray & Person, 2014).


Intensity of daily physical activity can be broken down into two sub-categories, including moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity. In addition, it is important for children aged 5 to 11 years to take part in activities that strengthen their muscles and bones, increase endurance and promote flexibility (CSEP, 2015).


These are activities that result in an increased heart and breathing rate. Since it is tough for one to measure METs, it is sufficient to use ‘The Talk Test’ to gage intensity (Loose, Christiansen, Smolczyk, Roberts, Budziszewska, Hollatz & Norman, 2012). Anyone engaging in moderate-intensity activity will only be able to say a few words without the need to breathe, but will be unable to sing a song while doing the activity (Loose et al., 2012). Most activities in this category are considered to be endurance-based.


• Brisk walking with the dog

• Cycling to school

• Mopping the home

• Dancing to your favorite song

• Swimming

• Carrying grocery bags


Activities that result in a spike or drastic increase in an individuals heart and breathing rate. While engaging in vigorous-intensity exercise, the individual will only be able to say a word or two without needing a breath (Loose et al., 2012). Most activities in this category are considered to be endurance-based.


• Running during recess

• Speed cycling with friends around the school perimeter

• Competitive sports

• Dancing

• Moving heavy loads

Strength Activities

Muscle-strengthening activities require children to bear resistance during their activities, which results in a child gaining muscular strength (Bland et al., 2014). These activities typically come in the form of children swinging and climbing on playground equipment, such as monkey bars, zip-line and climbing trees (Bland et al., 2014). Bone-strengthening activities require muscles to push and pull against bone in order to make them stronger. These activities typically include running, walking and jumping rope, which all create a level of impact or stress on the bone (Rogen, Hofmann, Bauernhofer & Müller, 2014). For example, if children land on the ground after jumping off a platform, their leg muscles will contract to stabilize motion and the resultant impact will stimulate calcification of the bones that leads to strengthening (Bland et al., 2014).

Flexibility Activities

Flexibility activities assist bodies in moving easily, allow muscles to stay relaxed and offer joints the opportunity to be mobile. Ultimately reducing the risk of injury (Lunkenheimer, Albrecht & Kemp, 2013). Regular flexibility activities help children stay independent, and promote living better and longer lives (Ministry of Education, 2011). Such activities may include gentle reaching, bending, stretching, pilates, dancing and swimming.


According to the World Health Organization, Children aged 5-11 years should be achieving a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity on a daily basis (2015). Activities that strengthen the muscle and bone should be performed at least three times every week. In order to experience any health benefits, daily physical activity needs to be performed for more than 10 minutes, per bout (World Health Organization, 2015). Any physical activity that goes beyond 60 minutes will surely provide additional health benefits.


They key point to take away from this section is that any form of physical activity on a daily basis, for any duration, is better than nothing. The benefits associated with daily physical activity outweigh any harms, such as injury or burn out, and have a positive effect on multiple facets of a childs well-being and quality of life (World Health Organization, 2015)

Motor Development

Participating in daily physical activity has been noted to offer multiple benefits to the child, with development of fundamental gross motor skills being one (Cardoso, Magalhães, & Rezende, 2014). Locomotor skills are those that involve movement of the body, and can be developed through walking, leaping and jumping-based activities. Stability and balance skills are those that keep the body in equilibrium and upright, as compared to the environment, and can be developed through playing on see saws and jumping on trampolines (Cardoso et al., 2014). Object control skills are those that allow the body to interact with objects in the environment, and can be developed through throwing, kicking and catching activities. Hence, daily physical activity that varies through the inclusion of various forms of activities will serve as a platform for children to reach their motor milestones, and do so faster than children that are inactive (Cardoso et al., 2014).


Physical activity acts as a primary and secondary method of prevention for chronic illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension and obesity. There exists a negative correlation between daily physical activity and coronary heart disease (Reiner, Niermann, Jekauc, & Woll, 2013). It helps children maintain healthy body composition and improves the state of ones blood lipid levels. These factors lead to a lesser likelihood of a child experiencing cardiovascular disease in the future (Landry & Driscoll, 2012). Physical activity initiated at a young age can also decrease the rate of proliferation of fat cells, thereby lowering the likelihood of a child becoming obese. Daily physical activity will undoubtedly prevent children from experiencing health complications in the future and will assist them in achieving a healthy quality of life (World Health Organization, 2015). In addition, partaking in daily physical activity primes the body to movement experiences and creates muscle memory, that helps children adapt and uptake new forms of activity relatively easily (Landry & Driscoll, 2012). Over time, the chance of getting injured during sports becomes lower and energy expenditure, as compared to the average child, becomes more effective (Reiner et al., 2013). Furthermore, taking part in daily physical activity promotes healthy musculoskeletal tissue, such as bones and joints, and greatly decreases the likelihood of a child getting injured.


Daily Physical Activity has been shown to be associated with cognitive and psychological benefits, which should be of special interest since our society is becoming bombarded with sources of psychological stressors that can be damaging to ones state (Delawarde, Saïas & Briffault, 2014). Physical activity increases the levels of dopamine in one’s body, and therefore acts as a natural remedy or preventative mechanism for mental illness such as depression and anxiety (Reiner et al., 2013). Children that are physically active on a daily basis have also been shown to achieve higher grades in school, as it was that performing regular aerobic activity has positive effects on memory retention and concentration (Landry& Driscoll, 2012 ). One can also note that there exists a negative correlation between physical activity and Alzheimer’s disease, which has traditionally been attributed solely to heredity.


Participation in regular physical activity often creates opportunities for social development for children, whereby they are able to build relationships with others, integrate into their community, gain self-confidence and find an avenue for self-expression (Delawarde et al., 2014). Through this, youth are more prone to making healthy decisions in life. Physically active children display healthier lifestyles by avoiding alcohol, tobacco and drug usage (World Health Organization, 2015).


This section outlines some of the common hurdles and conditions that may inhibit children from being able to achieve their daily physical activity requirements (Mailey, Huberty, Dinkel & McAuley, 2014).

Physical and Mental

It has been shown that boys are more likely to be physically active, as compared to girls. As a result, parents should emphasize the importance of daily physical activity to their children of any gender (Mailey et al., 2014). Caucasian children are more likely than other races, to be engaging in physically activity, and so it is vital for parents of all races to seek knowledge on how to engage their children and help them acquire benefits associated with daily physical activity (Pawlowski, Tjornhoj-Thomsen, Schipperijn, & Troelsen, 2014). Many children fear failure and risk of injury; therefore they do not partake in physical activity (Mailey et al., 2014). Special caution should be taken with such children through initially engaging in safe activities, such as swimming, before graduating to other surfaces. In addition, getting the child in a good mood before engaging in activity will make them see the activity as more fun and less fearful.

Individual Preferences

Individual preferences are choices that vary per person, and often drive children to either choose to partake or distance themselves from daily physical activity. If a child does not like the activity in question, then it may act as a barrier (Einarsson, Ólafsson, Hinriksdóttir, Jóhannsson, Daly & Arngrímsson, 2015). This may easily be overcome by changing the activity to something enjoyable for children. Often times, children lack motivation to be physically active on the daily; therefore it is viable to explain to them that they are missing out on opportunities to have fun outside in the sun with their friends (Pawlowski et al., 2014). In addition, children may fear embarrassment in front of peers, though educating the child on the benefits of daily physical activity is often an effective way to offset any kind of embarrassment (Mailey et al., 2014). Sedentary children are not used to physical activity and may be the hardest to get going, which is why it is important for parents to incorporate physical activity into every day life, such as walking to school.


Interpersonal barriers are those that exist due to reliance on others, which inhibit the participation of physical activity. Lack of guidance can be a huge barrier for children that want to be physically active, and does not have to be the case if there is sufficient encouragement and assistance by parents (Einarsson et al., 2015). Lack of information on daily physical activity is in a similar realm to the previously mentioned, and can be overcome through setting up peer groups and getting parents together to share knowledge on effective activities for children to be occupied with throughout the day (Pawlowski et al., 2014). Being pushed to hard may lead to burn out, which is why it is important for parents to let the child go at their own pace and do so gradually (Einarsson et al., 2015). Peer influence is a big factor in determining levels of physical activity in children, as it has been shown that those with inactive friends are also likely to be inactive (Mailey et al., 2014). Therefore, it would be an intelligent course of action for parents to encourage the parents, of their children’s friends, to be concerned with their children’s daily physical activity requirements, and this will create a positive ecosystem for children to be influenced by (Pawlowski et al., 2014).

Physical Environment

The immediate surroundings of children often dictate what kinds of physical activities they are able to partake in, and will often either afford them opportunities to meet their daily requirements or discourage them from leaving them home (Einarsson et al., 2015). Bad weather, such as rain or excessive wind, is a major deterrent for children from engaging in daily physical activity. It has been shown that countries with moderate climates have the highest levels of physical activity among individuals (Mailey, 2014). For instances in which it is not possible to leave the indoors, it is important to involve children in household chores in exchange for rewards or points they can redeem for rewards. Unsafe neighborhoods, with narrow sidewalks, crime and heavy traffic, are also problematic. Therefore, going to playground in large groups is important (Pawlowski et al., 2014). Presence of technology at home, in the form iPads and TV’s, are perpetuating sedentary lifestyle. To combat this, it would be wise to reduce childrens screen time to a maximum of one hour per day. Lack of access to equipment and play structures in school are of interest, since this is where children spend most of their time. Scanning the environment and schools for adequate apparatus should not be overlooked, prior to choosing a home in any neighborhood (Einarsson et al., 2015).


As of September 2008, it has become mandatory for all elementary schools in British Columbia to provide opportunities for their students to achieve 30 minutes of daily physical activity (Ministry of Education, 2011). However, there has been significant controversy over the compliance of schools and whether they are truly helping students achieve daily physical activity. Even though it is policy and a part of the law, many parents are unaware of this (McKay, Macdonald, Nettlefold, Masse, Day, & Naylor, 2015). In addition, some schools claim that the accumulation of recesses throughout the week and weekly PE class is sufficient for students to meet daily physical activity requirements. It is imperative for parents to be involved in school council and talk about solutions for affording children the opportunity to be physically active on a daily basis (McKayet al., 2015). The enforcement of legislation in schools is a critical step in improving physical activity levels in children. However, it is just as important to monitor whether schools are implementing the guidelines, support schools that are struggling to implement guidelines, and track the changes that come about from implementation of the guidelines. Ultimately it comes down to schools and parents sitting together and talking about how the school environment and teachers can become conducive to healthy lifestyle and daily physical activity (ParticipACTION, 2013).

Notable Trends

• The majority of children are not meeting the daily physical activity requirements, with only 13% of boys and 6% of girls meeting the requirements (Statistics Canada, 2015).

• Children are spending on average 8.5 hours per day being sedentary (Statistics Canada, 2015).

• Childhood obesity has tripled in the past thirty years, within Canada (Statistics Canada, 2015).

• Physical inactivity costs $6.8 billion per year, making up 3.7% of the country’s healthcare costs (Statistics Canada, 2015).


The following recommendations are applicable for all children and youth irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, or household income level.

• Exposure to daily physical activity should be at the youngest age possible, as habits formed in earlier years have the greatest chance to continue into adulthood (ParticipACTION, 2013).

• While it is important to engage children in daily physical activity, it is even more important to make sure that they are doing so at a healthy pace and having fun.

• Take some time to sit with your child and determine what activities they enjoy and which they don’t (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012).

• Follow up with them regularly to see what activities are working and which aren’t, and do not be afraid to make changes (Landry & Driscoll, 2012).

• In order to avoid injury and burnout, it is imperative to guide the child through a gradual increase in physical activity.

• It should also be noted that if children are currently doing no physical activity, doing amounts below the recommended levels would bring more benefits than doing none at all.

• Daily physical activity requirements need not be achieved in one go, and can be achieved in multiple bouts (ex. two bouts of activity comprised of 30 minutes each).

• Parents should encourage their children to try various activities and engage in things they love, in order to avoid boredom or burnout.

• Parents should help children incorporate physical activity in their daily lives through getting them to walk to school, spend more time playing in sports teams, going on family walks with the dog and doing more chores at home.

• Schools and teachers should encourage children to be active during recess (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012).

• Health professionals, such as physicians, should be encouraging and prescribing physical activity to children in order to prevent disease.

• Parents should educate their children on the benefits of daily physical activity in order to motivate them to be active regularly (Mailey et al., 2014).  


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