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4 Types of Exercise Kids Need

kids playing soccer 

You know exercise is good for you. But you might not know that there are four kinds of it. Each one helps your body in different ways.

The great news is that a lot of what you like to do probably counts as at least one of these types of exercise. And maybe even more than one. For example, running works your heart and lungs, your muscles, and makes your bones strong.

See how your favorite activity helps your body. Plus, get some ideas for new ways to move.

1. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping and your lungs working harder. It also may make you sweat. Plus, it helps your mind and mood. How? It tells your body to make more "feel-good" chemicals.

This kind of exercise should make up most of the 1 hour you spend on physical activity every day. What counts as aerobic exercise? Here are some fun ideas to try:

  • Skateboarding or rollerblading
  • Canoeing, rowing, or cross-country skiing
  • Fast walking, hiking, jogging, or running
  • Cleaning your home or yard work
  • Dancing to music
  • Playing tag or jumping rope
  • Basketball or volleyball
  • Biking
  • Tennis, hockey, or soccer
  • Swimming
  • Cheerleading or gymnastics

2. Muscle strengthening makes you strong and gives you more power. But you don't need dumbbells. Even climbing on the jungle gym works.

Do things to build your muscles at least three times a week. Here are some ways to get it done:

  • Climbing a rope, rocks, or trees
  • Running or rowing
  • Push-ups, pull-ups, or sit-ups
  • Tug-of-war
  • Gymnastics or cheerleading
  • Working out with weights or resistance bands. If you don't have weights, you can use cans of food or full water bottles instead.

3. Bone-strengthening exercise helps your bones grow and makes them less likely to break.

You should do these exercises at least three times a week. Try things like:

  • Jumping rope, hopping, or skipping
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, or tennis

4. Stretches make your muscles more flexible. They can help you can reach and bend and turn better, which can help you avoid getting hurt.

You can do stretching exercises like toe touches or side stretches. But other workouts are great for flexibility, too. Try:

  • Yoga
  • Martial arts
  • Dance
  • Gymnastics

There are all sorts of ways you can get active. You can pick any of the four types of exercise. Why not start out by taking a walk or dancing to some music? The first step is to just start moving.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on January 31, 2016