Lindsay, A. 2020, Muscle and Bone Strength | Muscles in Motion, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, IP
kids muscles


We use a certain amount of energy just breathing air, keeping our bodies warm, digesting food and performing daily living activities. We use more energy when we perform physical activity. For example, adults use energy at rest but use even more energy when they walk to the bus stop, clean the house or ride a bike. Did you know that people who are more physically active generally use more energy even at rest than those who are not as physically active?

Weight-Bearing Activities Providing opportunities for weight bearing exercises are critical to building strong, healthy bones during the growing years. Weight bearing exercises place the stress of the child's body weight on his bones and muscles to help build strong bones. Activities include running, jumping, hopping, skipping and dancing because they work against gravity to keep the child in the upright position.

Some great ideas to improve Muscle Strength & Enduranceinclude:

  • Hanging from a monkey bar
  • Games like Tug of War
  • Doing a somersault, tumbling or gymnastics
  • Doing a handstand
  • Playing catch or swinging a bat
  • Riding a bike, scooter or skateboard (And always wear a helmet!)

Some great ideas to improve Bone Strength include:

  • Jump rope or hopscotch
  • Climbing a tree or ladder on a playground slide
  • Doing frog hops or crab walks across the floor
  • Hopping like a bunny or balancing on one foot


Children use energy just being children - running on the play yard or building block towers. Children need to balance energy in and out too, but they are also growing; thus, their extra energy needs must also be met. Energy balance in children happens when the amount of ENERGY IN and ENERGY OUT supports natural growth and daily activity without promoting excess weight gain.

What is the difference between Muscle Strength and Muscle Endurance?

Building healthy muscles in young children is important for future confidence and motor skill development. There are 2 ways to build strong muscles:

  • Muscular Strength - This involves the child’s ability to lift heavier objects (or lift his own body weight) for a brief period such as hanging from a monkey bar.
  • Muscular Endurance - This involves a child's ability to lift a lighter objects for a longer period of time such as carrying a light stack of blocks to another room.

While each are slightly different, they are both important to overall muscular fitness.

kid climbing up playground equipment

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