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New recommendation on physical activity for children and adolescents:
At least 60 minutes of versatile, brisk and strenuous exercise a day

Ministry of Education and Culture
7.4.2021 12.08 | Published in English on 12.4.2021 at 10.29
Press release
Photo: Jussi Eskola

All 7-17-year-olds should get at least 60 minutes of versatile, brisk and strenuous exercise a day in a way that suits them individually, taking into account their age. The recommended amount of physical activity can be accumulated from different shorter periods of physical activity during the day. Excessive and prolonged immobility should be avoided.

Adequate physical activity is a prerequisite for the healthy growth, development and wellbeing of children and adolescents. In Finland, only about half of 7–12-year-olds and only less than one fifth of 13–17-year-olds get the recommended amount to exercise. Physical activity needs to be stepped up.

Based on the best scientific evidence, the recommendation on physical activity for children and adolescents describes how much and what kind of physical activity children and adolescents need in order to ensure their wellbeing.

All 7–17-year-olds should get at least 60 minutes of versatile, brisk and strenuous exercise in a way that suits them individually, taking into account their age. Excessive and prolonged immobility should be avoided. Based on the new recommendation, it would be good for children and adolescents to exercise every day of the week, and most of the physical activity should involve endurance-type activity. 

At least three days a week should involve strenuous endurance-type activity that increases muscle strength and the skeletal system. Physical activity should be versatile, so that different exercising skills can develop. Attention should also be paid to flexibility. 

The recommended amount of physical activity can be accumulated from different shorter periods of physical activity during the day. A smaller amount of physical activity is also beneficial, even if the recommendation is not met every day of the week. The pleasure of exercising helps to create a lasting exercise routine and find lasting hobbies. 

All children and adolescents should engage in daily physical activity that is safe and equally accessible to everyone. Family and friends, schools and educational institutions, sports organisations, sports clubs, organisers of recreational sports activities, municipalities and central government are all key actors in implementing the physical activity recommendation.

The new recommendation on physical activity was prepared by a multidisciplinary and professional group of experts on physical activity and wellbeing of children and adolescents. While the essence of the recommendation has not changed much since the previous recommendation of 2008, the content of the new recommendation has been adapted to better reflect the significantly more substantial, diversified and more specific research evidence on the physical activity of children and adolescents in recent years. 

More information on the recommendation:

Prepared by:

  • Arja Sääkslahti, Associate Professor, University of Jyväskylä
  • tel. +358 40 805 3974 or e-mail: [email protected]
  • Tuija Tammelin, Research Director, LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health
  • tel. +358 400 247 998 or email: [email protected]
  • Professor Tommi Vasankari, Director, UKK Institute
  • tel. +358 40 505 9157, email: [email protected] 

Chairperson, working group for the recommendation on physical activity for children and adolescents:
Secretary General, National Sports Council, Ministry of Education and Culture
Tel. +358 295 330 018 or email: [email protected]

New Recommendation on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents