3 Types of Activity Needed For Children With Special Needs

We all generally know the concept of being healthy, but many of us may not know how significant good health is or steps to take to achieve good health. More importantly, how do you incorporate being healthy as a family when you have a child with special needs along with two other children, work a full-time job, have soccer practice, ballet lessons, doctor/therapy appointments, and you have to cook dinner? I’ve been there.

The last thing you want to hear when balancing a hectic life is, “Exercise and eat right!”

That’s great advice, but there are few voices offering concrete plans and ideas for the “How To” of being healthy as a family.

Children develop their view of the importance of physical activity largely from their parents. Studies show that “adults play an important role in providing age-appropriate opportunities for physical activity [for children].” In doing so, they create an important foundation for life-long, health-promoting physical activity. Adults need to encourage active play in children and encourage sustained and structured activity as children grow older, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

It is recommended that children need exercise every day for at least one hour to keep their bones and muscles strong and to stay healthy. You can break up the time you exercise throughout your day, but it needs to add up to 60 minutes.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that children/adolescents need to be doing four types of activity, which include:


Bicycling, dancing, running, swimming and jumping rope are all excellent options. Some sports like soccer, karate and tennis are good for strengthening the heart.


Strengthening exercises include sit ups, crunches, pull ups, push ups, rock climbing, and playing on the monkey bars and playground equipment. Some sports like gymnastics, cheerleading, and football are also good for strengthening muscles.


Hopping, skipping, jumping, hop scotch and running are among many activities to help bones stay strong. Almost all sports are good for strengthening our bones including basketball, gymnastics, tennis, volleyball, and football.


This blog post was contributed by Daniel Swan, physical therapist on the medical staff at Baylor Our Children House.

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3 Types of Activity Needed For Children With Special Needs