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Health and Wellbeing > Health and wellbeing policy, procedures and guidelines >

Physical activity in state schools

The department recognises the importance of physical activity in the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Engaging in regular physical activity of at least moderate intensity is part of a healthy and active lifestyle. Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines External Link for children and young people aged 5-17 years recommend:

Schools have an important role in supporting student participation in quality physical activity through:

Why is physical activity important in schools?

All children and young people need to be physically active; and physically active children and young people are more likely to become physically active adults.

Regular physical activity enhances students' ability to learn and supports student health and wellbeing.

Schools, through effective organisation and delivery, are well placed to maximise participation, enjoyment and skill development for all students including those with diverse needs, abilities and interests.

Additional benefits of regular physical activity.

When can physical activity occur at school?

Daily physical activity is important. Both structured and incidental physical activity are essential components of school-based child development.

Schools provide opportunities to all students for:

Physical activity that is sustained and of at least moderate intensity

To support health and wellbeing, physical activity must be sustained and be of at least moderate intensity. Sessions of physical activity should last at least ten minutes, however it is acknowledged that any activity is beneficial and more is better.

Moderate-intensity activities cause a slight but noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate and conversation can be maintained. (In comparison, vigorous-intensity activities cause a noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate; and speaking in full sentences between breaths is difficult.)

In planning to provide physical activity, schools consider their particular contexts and the needs of students.

Schools can involve students in a broad range of physical activities of at least moderate intensity. The activities encourage participation and enjoyment, are generally not competitive and are easily achievable for all students.

Schools ensure effective risk management procedures are in place for all school activities.

Community partnerships:

See further advice on:

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This page was last reviewed on 20 Feb 2015

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