Exercise 60 minutes

Exercise 60 minutes every day

Kids need regular exercise to grow up strong and healthy. Without it, your heart, muscles, bones, and other systems in your body won’t work as well. Lack of exercise can lead to health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Kids who exercise have stronger muscles, stronger bones, and lower body fat than kids who aren’t active. They also sleep better, and even do better in school. Exercise is a great stress reliever, so often kids who exercise generally feel happier.

For optimal health, we recommend exercising at least 60 minutes every day. Wondering what counts as exercise? You don’t have to go to a gym or play a team sport, although these do count. We’re talking about any games and sports that involve movement — running, jumping, and climbing — that makes your heart beat faster, your breathing get heavier, and your body sweat.

An hour a day may sound like a lot, but you may already meet at least some of this goal if you play games at recess or sports after school. Keep in mind that those 60 minutes don’t have to be all at once — you can add up exercise throughout the day.

Fun fitness activities

Check out these fun fitness activities to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise:

Feel the beat

What you need:

  • any open space, inside or outside
  • a device that plays music (mobile phone or tablet with Bluetooth speakers or docking system, CD player, or radio)
  • optional: console to play electronic dance games

Group size: any number of players

Set up:

  • Pick out the music or dance game you want to use.
  • Clear space for moving around during the dance session.
  • Choose music (or an electronic dance game) that will make you want to move.

How to play:

  • Put on some music you like and start dancing, alone or in a group.
  • Create a routine, have a dance battle, or practice a popular dance (like electric slide, chicken dance, or Macarena).
  • Play an electronic dance game (like Just Dance or Dance Dance Revolution).

Turn up the intensity: Keep your feet moving at all times. Try out fast-moving dance styles like hip-hop, Zumba, or line dancing.

You're it

What you need:

  • any open space — yard, field, blacktop, or court (basketball or tennis)
  • cones or tape to mark boundaries

Group size: Three or more players

Set up:

  • Mark boundaries with cones or tape or use the lines on a court or field.

How to play:

  • Choose one player to be the tagger.
  • The tagger picks one exercise (like high knees or jumping jacks) that the other players must do if tagged.
  • The tagger signals the start of the game.
  • All players run within the boundaries to stay away from the tagger.
  • If a player is tagged, they must stop and perform the chosen exercise until a player who has not been tagged un-tags them.
  • Switch out the player who is the tagger after a couple of minutes.
  • The new tagger picks out a new exercise and play continues.
Jump on in
What you need:
  • any open space — backyard, field, blacktop, or court (basketball or tennis)
  • Double Dutch and/or single jump ropes
  • optional: cones or tape to mark boundaries

Follow the Leader (Double Dutch)

Group size: four or more players

Set up:

  • Two turners face each other. They each hold the ends of two Double Dutch jump ropes.

How to play:

  • The turners twirl the ropes in big circles at the same time in opposite directions.
  • Jumpers form one line to enter the ropes.
  • One person jumps in and one person jumps out with every turn of the rope. The idea is to follow the leader (jumper in front of you) without missing.
  • If a jumper misses or clips the rope, they are eliminated. See who can last the longest.

Jump Rope Relay Race (single rope)

Group size: four or more players

Set up:

  • Put two lines of cones (or whatever you’re using for markers) some distance apart to mark point A and point B.

How to play:

  • Divide into equal teams. Each team needs a jump rope.
  • Choose a game leader.
  • All players line up with their team behind the cones at point A.
  • The game leader signals the start of the jump rope relay race.
  • The first player in each line jumps rope while running/jumping to the cones at point B and back.
  • When a player returns to point A, they hand the jump rope to the next player in line to continue the relay race.
  • The first team to have all players complete the jump rope relay race is the winner.

Jump Rope Challenges (single rope)

Group size: any number of players.

Set up:

  • No set up required.

How to play:

  • Perform each of the following jump rope variations and see how many jumps you can get in a minute. Try to complete two to three rounds.
  • If there are other players, make it a game: Who can do all these jumps first?

More options

  • Bunny hops: Hop with both feet together, doing one jump for every turn of the rope.
  • Run it: Run or jog forward as you jump.
  • Jump rope jacks: Jump with feet together then feet apart.
  • Crossover: Cross arms on every other jump.
  • Flashbacks: Begin with the rope in front of you and swing the rope backward over your head.
  • Quick feet: Jump as fast as you can.
Race remix

What you need:

  • any open space — backyard, field, blacktop, or court (basketball or tennis)
  • cones or tape to mark point A and point B

Group size: four or more players

Set up:

  • Set up two lines of cones some distance apart to mark point A and point B.
  • Choose a game leader.

How to play:

  • Divide into two or more equal teams.
  • All players line up with their team behind the cones at point A.
  • The game leader assigns each row a creative way to travel to point B and back. For example:
    • 1st in line = skip
    • 2nd in line = hop
    • 3rd in line = crab walk
    • 4th in line = jog
    • 5th in line = side step
    • 6th in line = run
  • The game leader signals the start of the relay race.
  • The first player in each line begins to travel to point B.
  • When a player returns to point A, they high-five the next player in line, who then continues the relay race.
  • The first team to have all players complete the relay race wins.

Turn up the intensity: Race against the clock and try to complete the relay race in a certain amount of time.

Crush the course

What you need:

  • any open space — backyard, field, blacktop, or court (basketball, tennis)
  • a random assortment of equipment (like balls, bean bags, jump ropes, hula hoops, pool noodles, or agility ladder)
  • cones or tape to mark boundaries
  • optional: pen/pencil and paper to number each obstacle

Group size: any number of players

Set up:

  • Choose a theme and plan out the obstacles.
  • Use the equipment available nearby to create the obstacles.
  • Assemble obstacles and place them some distance apart in an organized sequence.

How to play:

  • All players line up at the first obstacle.
  • One at a time, the players begin the obstacle course.
  • A player must complete an obstacle before moving on to the next obstacle.
  • The course is finished once each player completes all the obstacles.

For example:

  • fit kit Olympics
    • Bounce a tennis ball 20 times on a racket.
    • Dribble a basketball down a full court.
    • Shoot 10 free throws into a basketball hoop.
    • Kick 10 soccer balls into a net.
    • Weave a ball, using a floor hockey stick, through a series of cones.
  • fit kit Warrior Race
    • Star jumps or push-ups for 30 repetitions.
    • Walk across a balance beam or balance a bean bag on your head.
    • High knees through an agility ladder or series of hula hoops.
    • Line jumps or jump rope for 30 seconds.
    • Jump over or crawl under hurdles made of pool noodles across two chairs.

Turn up the intensity: Jog instead of walk to the next obstacle. Switch it up to a hop, skip, or jump.

After completing a fitness activity, rate the intensity of your exercise. Download the worksheet

People who use exercise trackers are more likely to exercise every day. Try it! Download the tracker