Vigorous-intensity exercise

Include at least 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three or more days per week

Making time for physical activity in general is good, but it’s also important to get enough of the right exercise. Remember, we recommend 60 minutes of exercise every day, including moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity exercise. Don’t forget to include at least 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three or more days per week.

Okay, let’s back up. Exercise intensity refers to how hard your body is working — how fast your heart is beating, how heavy you’re breathing, and how much you’re sweating. It can be light, moderate, or vigorous.

If you think of a scale going from 0 to 10, where rest is 0 and maximum, all-out effort is 10, moderate-intensity exercise is a 5 or 6 and vigorous-intensity exercise is a 7 or 8.

 

Interval training 101: Create your own Boston Children’s fit kit Circuit at home

One fun way to reach your fitness goals is through interval training. Interval training is a popular form of exercise, so you may have heard the term — but what does it mean? Interval training involves alternating bursts of vigorous-intensity exercise with lighter activity or rest. An interval training session usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your fitness level and desired intensity.

Interval training has a lot of great health benefits, as it:

  • improves aerobic fitness
  • builds strong muscles and bones
  • reduces belly fat
  • lowers cholesterol levels

Interval training also has other perks. Many children and teens enjoy it because the short intervals keep the workouts varied and fun. No special equipment is required, so you can do it anytime, anywhere.

The Boston Children’s fit kit offers a specific type of interval training called circuit training. This type of training alternates bursts of different exercises, with rest in between. You can do the Boston Children’s fit kit Circuit by yourself or with friends or family members. No special equipment required. We’ve created a sample fit kit Circuit with a mix of six exercises from the list below. Several of these exercises are not only aerobic but also build muscle and bone strength.

  • bicycles
  • butt kickers
  • Frogger
  • front lunges
  • high knees
  • hopscotch
  • ice skaters
  • invisible jump rope
  • jumping jacks
  • line jumps
  • push-ups
  • spider lunges
  • squats
  • toe touches

Note: The sample Boston Children’s fit kit Circuit includes step-by-step instructions, as well as pictures to show proper form, for each exercise. When first learning the fit kit Circuit, it is important you practice how to do the exercises correctly.

Over time, if you get comfortable, you can create your own circuits at home. Include at least six different exercises.

The Boston Children’s fit kit Circuit: step-by-step guide

  1. Find any open space — inside or outside.
  2. Try the sample fit kit Circuit or pick your own six exercises.
  3. Play some music to add energy and make it fun.
  4. Warm up. Do activities like marching or jogging in place, side stepping, or jumping jacks for five to 10 minutes to get your body ready for exercise.
  5. Move your body:
    • Do each exercise for 45 seconds.
    • Rest for 15 seconds between exercises.
    • Repeat the entire fit kit Circuit at least five times to achieve the goal of 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise.
  6. Cool down. Do activities like walking around or light stretching to get your heart rate to gradually come down.

Try the sample Boston Children’s fit kit Circuit. Download the sample

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

Here are some things to try when you’re ready to turn up the intensity:

  • Increase the number of repetitions. (Example: Repeat the fit kit Circuit six times instead of five.)
  • Increase the amount of work. (Example: Exercise for one minute instead of 45 seconds.)
  • Decrease the amount of rest. (Example: Rest for 10 instead of 15 seconds between exercises.)