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New physical activity guidelines for disabled children and young people

Issued by the Chief Medical Officers, the guidelines are the first of their kind and highlight the importance of regular physical activity.

The UK’s Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) have issued new guidelines that say disabled children and young people should be getting 20 minutes of exercise a day and doing strength and balance activities three times a week.

The guidelines, which are the first of their kind for disabled children and young people, will support the improvement of physical and mental health throughout life.

A boy with a prosthetic leg balances on a high ropes course.

Research from Durham University, the University of Bristol and Disability Rights UK underpins the guidelines, which have been welcomed by our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth, who is also the government's Disability Access Ambassador for sport and physical activity.

“Today’s guidance is a very welcome step in acknowledging the positive role that regular activity can play in all children’s lives,” he said.

“The guidance is clear that physical activity is as beneficial for disabled children and young people as it is for other children. 

“Our research shows that providing children and young people with positive experiences of sport and physical activity is key to building healthy habits, and we know that disabled young people who are regularly active live healthier, happier lives.  

“Every disabled child and young person has the right to be active. That’s why Sport England continues to prioritise the development of accessible, inclusive and enjoyable opportunities for all children and young people as part of our Uniting the Movement strategy.

“We recommend that anyone with a role in helping children and young people get active reads this guidance.”

We know that regular physical activity has both physical and mental wellbeing benefits for people of all ages, and the evidence these guidelines are based on clearly shows that disabled and children and young people can benefit from daily activity – even in small bouts.

As with all people, it’s important for disabled children and young people to build up slowly when first starting to exercise, in order to avoid injury.

Breaking down exercise into bite-size chunks is still effective and can help spread activity through the day.

Click here for the full press release


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