Technology & Science

New Canadian exercise guidelines say move more

Canadian children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day and adults 150 minutes per week, according to new exercise guidelines.

Canadian children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day and adults 150 minutes per week, according to new exercise guidelines.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) announced the revised Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines on Monday.

Under the new guidelines, children ages five to 11 and youth ages 12 to 17 should:

  • Accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity daily.
  • Include vigorous-intensity activities at least three days per week.
  • Include activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least three days per week.

Adults age 18 to 64 should strive to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more, the guidelines say.

P.O.V.:

Do you get the recommended amount of exercise? Take our survey.

The guidelines also say Canadians should try to exceed these minimum activity levels since the greater the variety, intensity and duration of the physical activity, the greater the health benefit.

"More is better," Mark Tremblay, chair of CESP's guidelines committee, said in an interview. "So if you are doing some, do a little bit more. If you are doing more, do a little bit more still. Really the benefits come progressively." 

The guidelines state it helps all adults to add muscle- and bone-strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least two days a week to keep the skeleton and muscles in better shape.

For older adults, it's advised those with poor mobility should perform physical activities to enhance balance and prevent falls.

Physical activity categories

Light: Light household cleaning, cooking.

Moderate: Brisk walking, skating, bike riding.

Vigorous: Playing hockey, basketball, soccer, running and swimming. 

Muscle- and bone-strengthening: Skipping, climbing, push-ups, sit-ups, weight training.

Colin Blayney runs a new fitness program for specially designed for seniors at the Miles Nadel Jewish Community Centre in Toronto. Health scares are motivating many to get fit, Blayney said.

"It's going to help your circulation, it's going to help your joints," Blayney said of the new guidelines. "It's going to help your bones, it's going to help your organs, it will help your skin. Exercise is really a miracle cure for so many things."

CBC News first described the guideline changes during its Canada Weighs In project earlier in January.

The existing guidelines have a much stronger evidence base that provide more specific targets, Tremblay said.

CSEP is Canada's main body for physical activity, health and fitness research and personal training. These guidelines are the result of over four years of research analysis funded by several groups including the Public Health Agency of Canada.

now