Physical Activity By Age


Children having fun and jumping rope in the garden.
Children having fun and jumping rope in the garden.

Get them moving early! 

  • Preschool-aged children should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. 
  • Adult caregivers of preschool-aged children should encourage active play that includes a variety of movements. 
  • Preschoolers should aim for three hours of activity a day including light, moderate and vigorous intensity. It helps their brain development and their overall growth. 

Children between the ages of three and five need to be moving, actively playing, and participating in activities daily. Engage preschoolers in things like throwing balls, hopping, skipping, and jumping. Head to your local playground and climb, get on a swing, and go down a slide! 

Tips for moving as a family
Tips for moving as a family in Spanish

Youth and Adolescents

Children playing a game with a colourful Parachute
Children playing a game with a colourful Parachute

Keep ‘em Moving! 

Physical activity during childhood and adolescence is critical. Studies have shown that youth who are regularly active have a greater chance of being healthy as an adult. Did you know that physical activity helps brain development and improves sleep too? Being active even helps with concentration! As children mature into adolescents their activity often decreases. This is when you can help. 

Motivation tips one teen to another! 

As parents/caregivers, there are many ways you can influence how your child thinks of activity. Besides encouraging them to be active there are specific things you can do to help your child stay active throughout their lives. 

  • Be active yourself! Are you getting any physical activity? It is never too late to start. Start with what you can and build from there.  
  • Make activity part of your family’s day. Go for bike rides or walk to the park when you get home  
  • Activity is FUN! Try different activities. How about basketball, swimming, skating, yoga, or gardening? What else can you think of? 

Most importantly, be safe and keep the activity appropriate for everyone.  


Are you moving? 

Healthy group of multiethnic middle aged men and women jogging at park. Happy mixed race couples running together. Mature friends running together outdoor.
Adults jogging in the park

The more we move and the less time we spend sitting has a great effect on our health throughout our lives. Always remember; some activity is better than none. Moving more and sitting less decreases our risk for chronic disease, helps maintain muscle mass, and even improves our mental health. Read on to find out how much we need and different ways to add activity to your day.  

  • Adults should aim for 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) and up to 300 minutes (five hours) each week of moderate activities or 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous activities.  
  • It is also recommended that adults engage in muscle-strengthening activities incorporating the whole body two or more days a week. This will not only increase strength but reduces the risk of heart disease, improves bone health, protects muscle mass, and makes it easier to lift things.  

What counts? 

What counts as moderate and/or vigorous activity? Moderate activities are things like walking briskly, mowing the lawn, or washing windows. Vigorous activity includes jogging, hiking, shoveling snow, and carrying heavy loads. Of course, there are many more kinds of activities than listed here. These are to describe the intensity.  

You don’t need a gym membership to be active? We understand that it can be hard to think about what to do especially if you have children, a busy schedule, and limited space. Sometimes, we simply run out of ideas. If that happens, we have some suggestions! 

Suggestions on how to stay active when you have little time 

Adults with Disabilities

Two young men playing the game of pickleball on a court. One of the men is in a wheelchair. Horizontal composition with sunlight behind the players.
Pickleball Players

Adults with Chronic Conditions and/or Disabilities, who are able, should aim for at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (five hours) a week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous physical activity or a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity. Preferably, activity should be spread throughout the week.  

If able, you should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity involving all major muscle groups on two or more days a week. Muscle strengthening provides additional health benefits like improved sleep and concentration. 

When adults are not able to meet the guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities.  

Adults with chronic conditions or symptoms need to be under the care of a healthcare provider who can prescribe appropriate physical activity safely. Always speak with your healthcare provider before beginning any new physical activity program.  

Find accessible hiking trails across Massachusetts. 

Or try one of the videos below for a fun and inclusive workout! 

Here are some videos from The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD) 

8-minute inclusive free weights exercise video 
8-minute inclusive workout

Pregnant or Postpartum 

Keep it going! 

Pregnant woman meditating
Pregnant woman meditating

Women who are pregnant or postpartum should aim for 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. It’s best to spread that activity throughout the week. 

If a woman was regularly physically active before pregnancy, they can continue those activities during and after pregnancy. 

Women who are pregnant should be under the care of a healthcare provider who can monitor the progress of the pregnancy. Their healthcare provider can help women know whether and how to adjust their physical activity both during pregnancy and after their baby is born.  

As a reminder, always speak with a medical professional before beginning any new physical activity program.  

Here are some videos about exercising when you’re pregnant and post-partum, from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Tips for being active after having a baby in Spanish

Older Adults

This is the best time to move your body! 

A couple leaves the tennis court after their workout.
Older couple leaving the tennis court after their workout.

For older adults, the key to healthy aging is regular physical activity. Being active protects and prevents older adults from health issues associated with aging. Physical activity sustains independence deepening our ability to continue doing activities necessary for daily living. 

If you are unable to do 150 minutes of activity a week, try to be as physically active as your ability and condition(s) allow. Remember that all movement counts, and we should aim to sit less and move more. 

As a reminder, always speak with a medical professional before beginning any new physical activity program. 

If you have a chronic condition(s) your primary care provider can give tips and provide resources to find out how you can be active your way.  

From the National Institute of Health 

15-minute workout
Tips to stay active
Translate »

SNAP-Ed Massachusetts wants to hear from you.

(Check all that apply below)
(Check all that apply below)