How much sport should children do? One hour a week? Two? More?

What parents believe their child ought to be doing is greatly influenced by their own experiences of sport, and as a PDHPE teacher I’m only too aware that sport isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea.

One of the messages we convey in our schools PDHPE Department, is that regular physical activity is the NUMBER ONE proactive step you can take to ensure your wellbeing – physical, social and mental.

Note we say “physical activity” – not sport.

I’d suggest too many kids are turned off sport at an early age by over-zealous parents, teachers or coaches. Or perhaps they don’t possess the skills or desire to run as fast as they can into a group of other children whilst trying catch and then not drop an oddly shaped ball.

Sport is a wonderful avenue to explore your potential, both as a sportsperson and an individual, you can build resilience, character and form memories that can last a lifetime – but it’s not for everyone.

Physical activity – on the other hand – is.

Go for a walk, play Frisbee, take part in a fitness class or swim  – just for the fun of it, and enjoy the health benefits.

Did you know in NSW (and I suspect this could be replicated around Australia) 30% of public schools DO NOT provide the recommended two hours of PE or sport per week? This isn’t an attack on those schools as there are many reasons as to why this might be the case.

The authors of the NSW Schools Physical Activity & Nutrition Survey recommend that children should participate in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day.

Achieving this would sound easy to some, and impossible for others, but lets consider how we could incorporate more physical activity into our daily lives – and into the lives of our kids.


Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at and tweets at @danhaesler