What Sort of Exercise is Best for Children?

We have often mentioned here at MotleyHealth.com that intensive exercise is better than gentle exercise to help you to lose weight. However, is there any scientific research to support this, and does the same rule apply to children?

Well, we have just been informed that the University of the West of Scotland is studying this now to help fight teenage obesity. The aim of the study is to show that the intensity of exercise is more important than its duration to keep weight off and make you fit. Current recommendations are for children to exercise moderately for one hour a day. However, they are hoping that this research will prove that children could exercise for less if it is done more intensively.


During the research scientists have developed a high intensity exercise plan specifically for the study which will run alongside a school’s usual weekly games lesson. This will allow the researchers to compare children doing national curriculum exercise classes with a different, more intensive form of exercise.

“It is widely accepted that during adolescence there seems to be a rapid decline in the type and intensity of physical activity engaged in. The potential therefore for physical education within schools to affect young people’s physical activity levels should not be underestimated. The duration, type, and intensity of exercise needed to get cardiovascular and psychological health benefits in young people remains unclear and as a result of this research we hope to get a better understanding of the best approaches to physical education in Scotland’s secondary schools.” Prof. Julien Baker, Lead Researcher.

So far more than 50 children have had their fitness and health assessed. Cholesterol, blood lipids, body fat and blood pressure have been taken. The study will compare 3 levels of activity:

  1. Medium Intensity Shuttle Runs
  2. High Intensity Shuttle Runs
  3. Standard Curriculum Physical Education Class

The results could change the way that we all exercise forever. In our fast paced society we find it increasingly difficult to find the time to exercise. Some strength trainers believe that high intensity training is best for increasing muscle, maybe the same is true for children exercising.

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