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Science and research

Working towards 150!

This article was contributed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.

Elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat will result in many health benefits. Moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) can provide you with just that! Specifically, moderate-intensity physical activities will cause your heart to beat faster and you will breathe a little harder than normal, but you can still talk, whereas vigorous-intensity activities will cause even greater effort and it will be much harder to carry out a conversation.

According to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults, you should be accumulating 150 minutes of MVPA per week and do at least two muscle strengthening sessions per week. You might think this sounds daunting but consider fun ways to get active – you’ll get the most out of physical activities that you enjoy, and it will keep you coming back for more!

To help meet the recommended 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity each week, try making a schedule, working out with a friend, doing a fast-paced walk or wheel to work, joining a recreational team, and engaging in activities that you enjoy like playing basketball or attending a yoga class. Even consider trying a sport you always wanted to do as a kid – changing up your routine can get you excited about being active! Even though 150 minutes seems like a lot – if you do 30 minutes of MVPA for 5 days, you will accumulate 150 minutes no problem. Keep in mind that 150 minutes is the target and accumulating above this will have even greater benefits on your health, but even 75 minutes brings substantial health benefits!

Aren’t sure which activities count as MVPA?

Some moderate intensity activities include:

  • Walking briskly
  • Hiking on flat terrain
  • Biking
  • Dancing

 

Some vigorous intensity activities can be more intense such as:

  • Running
  • Hiking up hilly terrain
  • Jumping rope
  • Sports with significant movement (e.g., basketball, soccer, hockey, etc.)

 

Some muscle strengthening activities can be exercises such as:

  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Lunges

 

These activities can be performed anywhere, in a gym, at home, or in a park. If you feel intimidated when attending the gym, you are not alone – 4 in 10 Canadians who attend the gym feel intimidated. To feel more comfortable in this setting: bring a friend, attend an instructed class, focus on your own fitness, build your routine before you go, and exercise during off-peak hours.

As you work towards your 150 minutes of MVPA each week, what moderate and vigorous activities will you engage in? Remember that all activity counts, some activity is better than none, you choose how you accumulate your 150, and you should always keep working towards more!

This August, ParticipACTION is partnering with Mazda Canada for the Mazda CX-50 Minute Challenge. The Challenge is designed to encourage and motivate all Canadians to get active outside and reconnect with nature. Download the ParticipACTION App today and track at least 50 active minutes per week for a chance to win great prizes. How will you spend your #CX50Minutes in nature?

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