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Activity Guidelines

Sixty minutes per day, every day, is the recommended level of physical activity for Canadian children and youth. Learning to be active at a young age is important: active kids become active adults who are positive role models in every stage of life. Tell us how you and your kids get moving at: #getactiveYR

Under “Related Resources” you’ll find the recommended Physical Activity Guidelines and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Canadian children, youth and adults. Regular physical activity such as walking each day, swimming or playing in the park is fun and increases your energy level and mental well-being, while decreasing stress and your risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.


 

These are the recommended guidelines for physical activity in Canada for children and adults.

Being physically active is good for your health. Thirty minutes of walking each day, swimming or playing in the park is fun and increases your energy level while reducing your risk of developing chronic illnesses.


Tips

Here are some things to remember when planning your physical activity.

Stay Motivated

Doing activities with others keeps you motivated and on track. Many communities offer a large selection of sports and recreation programs that you can join. It is important that you set goals, track progress and reward yourself for your accomplishments.

Be Sun Safe

When you are physically active outdoors, please remember to be sun safe  Make sure you cover up with clothing, wear a hat and sunglasses, use sunscreen and seek shade.

Enjoy Safe Winter Fun

You can still have fun physical activity during the cold months of the year. There are many activities and sports that only occur during the winter. Make sure you wear layers of clothing to stay warm and follow our tips to have safe winter fun.


Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth

Children and youth should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity each day (Active Healthy Kids Canada, 2010).

Physically active children are healthier, have higher self-esteem, become more engaged with friends and do better at school.

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Children 5 to 11 Years Old

Accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day such as bike riding or playground activities.

  • Include vigorous-intensity activities at least three days a week such as running or swimming
  • Include activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least three days a week such as karate or tennis

Encourage your kids to:

  • Play tag
  • Go to the playground after school
  • Walk, bike, rollerblade to school
  • Plan active games at recess

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Children 12 to 17 Years Old

  • Accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day, like bike riding and extracurricular sports
  • Include vigorous-intensity activities at least three days a week, like running or swimming
  • Include activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least three days a week, like karate or tennis

Encourage your kids to:

  • Go to the gym on the weekend
  • Take a fitness class after school
  • Walk, bike, rollerblade to school
  • Play a sport such as basketball, hockey, soccer, skating, skiing

Activity Guidelines for Adults (Ages 18-64)

Physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve your physical and mental health.  Accumulate 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes.

Health Benefits

You begin to see health benefits almost immediately. Within the first week of regular physical activity, you may see a drop in your blood pressure and feel more energetic and relaxed. After being active for a longer period, you will notice improvements in:

  • Posture
  • Balance
  • Muscle and bone strength

Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (65+)

Physical activity can reduce your risk of injuries and help maintain your independence.  Accumulate 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes with a focus on activities that build muscle and bone strength and enhance balance, coordination and flexibility.

For more information, visit Healthy Aging and Fall Prevention.


Winter activities for you and your family

Don’t hibernate this winter! Active living is alive and well all year round. Snow and cold weather provide opportunities for a wide variety of fun and inexpensive activities for the whole family.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Take a walk and enjoy nature
  • Use your creativity and build a huge snowman
  • Participate in a public skate at your local municipal rink
  • Experience a new winter sport like curling, indoor badminton and snowshoeing

Tips for safe winter fun

  • Stay warm and safe from the cold by wearing layers of warm clothing. Hats, scarves and warm gloves keep extremities warm, while weather proof outer layers keep you dry
  • Remember to always wear bright coloured and reflective clothing when outdoors so you are visible to traffic
  • Play in safe areas. Do not let children play in road-side snow banks. Snowplows may not be able to see them
  • Be aware of icy or slippery conditions. It is best to walk on the side walk. If that is not possible, walk facing traffic and stay close to the curb
  • Check your equipment before you head out.  Make sure that your skis, snowboards, skates, toboggans and safety equipment are in good repair
  • Inner tubes, plastic discs and other makeshift sliders are not recommended, as they are not safe and may lead to injury
  • Not all helmets are the same. Wear a helmet that has been certified for the specific sport or activity you are participating in. When choosing a helmet for tobogganing, a snow sport helmet made for skiing or snowboarding is best. A hockey helmet is also good. Bike helmets are better than nothing, but must be discarded after a significant impact
  • Be sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses and don’t forget to drink water to stay hydrated
  • Remember to check yourself and your children for cold-related injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia. Check the temperature and wind chill. It is great to have fun outdoors, but it’s important not to lose track of time.  In between short outdoor activities, move indoors and warm up first. This is especially important when children are participating.  In extreme weather, play indoors  




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