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Science and research

How much physical activity do adults need each day?

Introducing the first-ever 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults!

24 Hour Movement Guidelines for AdultsIf you visit our blog, follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletters (all excellent ideas, by the way, if you’re not already), you know that ParticipACTION is all about getting Canadians to move more and spend less time being sedentary, because Everything gets better when you get active.

It really is that simple. No matter your age or what your ability is, there are all kinds of ways to make sure you are soaking up the positive effects of leading an active life.

To ensure we feel those effects, we need to be mindful of Canadian public-health recommendations for movement behaviours. These recommendations, which are the result of the best, most up-to-date research, help give us a goal to strive toward when laying out our plans for the day, week and month. Plans that should always include at least some physical activity.

The first-ever 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Adults and Older Adults (65-plus) were recently released with new information offering clear direction on what a healthy 24-hours looks like. The guidelines highlight three recommendations that can help make your whole day better:

    • Move more – Add movement throughout your day, including a variety of types and intensities of physical activity and muscle-strengthening activities.
    • Reduce sedentary time – Limit recreational screen time and break up sedentary time often.
    • Sleep well – Set yourself up for good-quality sleep on a regular basis, with consistent bed and wake-up times.

Always remember that some activity is better than none! You don’t have to be running a 10K or competing in a Tough Mudder, it can be as simple as going for a hike or doing some yard work, but try switching up your movement a little bit each week. One day go for a brisk walk, try a bike ride the next day and some sports the one after that – or whatever movement or activity you are able to do. Every bit counts.

These guidelines arrive at a time when social distancing measures and economic challenges have brought so much physical and mental stress for many Canadians. Think of the guidelines recommendations as an essential foundation for our overall health, because incorporating them into your lifestyle can lead to health benefits, such as:

1. Increased overall fitness

2. Improved mental health and well-being

3. Strengthened muscles and bones

4. Reduced risk of chronic disease

24 Hour Movement Guidelines for AdultsEvery little bit of brisk activity counts toward the 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity adults need each week, which is defined as movement that increases your heart rate and elevates your body temperature (e.g., running, jumping rope, tennis, swimming).

Light physical activity is movement that does not result in sweating or shortness of breath (e.g. slow walking, stretching, light gardening). Either kind is good, but like we mentioned above, be sure to try working in a bit of both kinds each week to keep your heart pumping and body moving.

Print them out, post them up on your fridge or note board, and keep them in mind before you start your day. You will be sleeping better and moving more in no time!

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