Finland: This is How Much Exercise Kids Need
The Finnish government has recently introduced physical fitness guidelines, stating that children need at least 3 hours of exercise per day. Finnish children are known the be among the world’s most physically fit. 
This guideline is 3 times the amount of exercise recommended for children in the United States and the United Kingdom. Both governments, respectively, recommend that children put in 1 hour of activity per day. While both countries ask parents to limit screen time and sedentary activities, this recommendation is still well below the new Finnish par.
Within the new Finnish guidelines, children under 8 are asked to be the most physically active.
In addition to representing especially-fit children, Finnish children also perform incredibly well academically when compared to other countries in the developed world. Government officials believe the 2 are connected.
Finland’s Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen said on the new decision:
“Exercise promotes learning and provides experiences which lead to happiness and success. When children exercise together they develop interaction skills and connect socially, and it’s healthy, too.”
Grahn-Laasonen says that children should get this physical activity in at daycare, in school and doing hobbies at home or outside of the school environment.
It is recommended that Finnish children do not sit for more than 1 hour at a time and that parents discourage them from doing sedentary activities for several hours at a time. If a child is doing something which requires sitting for several hours, such as homework or reading, it is recommended that they get up and move around for a few minutes once every hour to counteract the sedentary activity.
In light of the new recommendation, schools are looking at implementing new ways of teaching into the curriculum to ensure that students receive adequate exercise. They are also attempting to include at least 3 hours of physical education each week in an effort to get kids moving even more.
Children and families within the country were largely supportive of the idea, as indicated by a recent survey. Many said they planned to use or encourage their children to use the school gym during breaks from learning or to increase the hours of extracurricular club activities.
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.