Did you know that you don’t have to be an athlete to be active? Or that sitting all day is bad for you, even if you’re active enough the rest of the time? The Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines outline the amount and type of physical activity you need at every age and stage of life. And, for the first time, the new 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth also include sleep. Following the guidelines will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, lead to a more focused mind, a stronger, fitter body, and all in all, a more enjoyable life.

Choose an Age Group

Father spinning daughter in park

Adults 18-64

Adults aged 18-64 years are encouraged to participate in a variety of physical activities that are enjoyable and safe to get their bodies moving and hearts pumping. Keep things fresh by mixing different activities until you find the ones you enjoy enough to do regularly.

Guidelines

Physical Activity Guidelines

  • Adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
  • It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone-strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least 2 days per week.
  • More daily physical activity provides greater benefits.

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Let’s Talk Intensity

Moderate-intensity physical activities will cause adults to sweat a little and to breathe harder. On a scale of 0 to 10 (with 10 being an absolute maximum effort and 0 being completely at rest), moderate activities are about a 5 or 6. While doing moderate-intensity activity adults should still be able to talk, but not sing along to their favourite song.

Vigorous-intensity physical activities will cause adults to sweat and be out of breath. On a scale of 0 to 10 (with 10 being an absolute maximum effort and 0 being completely at rest), vigorous activities are about a 7 or 8. While doing vigorous activity teens shouldn’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. Adults should do as much vigorous activity as they can.

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Moving Muscles and Building Bones

Muscle-strengthening activities are those that increase skeletal muscle strength, power, endurance and mass, such as strength training, resistance training and heavy gardening involving digging or shoveling.

Bone-strengthening activities produce an impact or tension force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength. Running, jumping rope and lifting weights are examples of bone-strengthening activities.

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What are the Proven Benefits?

Being active for at least 150 minutes per week can help adults to:

  • Increase overall fitness
  • Strengthen muscles and bones
  • Improve mental health and well being
  • Reduce overweight and obesity
  • Reduce the risk of chronic disease including Heart disease, Stroke, High blood pressure, certain types of Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, and Osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of premature death