For the first time in history, the current generation of Canadian children is expected to have a shorter life span than the generation before it, by an estimated two to five years. In today’s sedentary cultural landscape, Canadians burn 400 fewer calories per day than they did 20 years ago. Children spend an average of six hours each day sitting in front of a screen, and according to President and CEO of ParticipACTION, Kelly Murumets, “The next generation is fatter, rounder, and weaker than their parents as children.”
THE ACTIVE ADVANTAGE
Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t the only benefit of regular physical activity. In fact being physically active each day can help you:
• Reduce Stress, symptoms of depression, and anxiety
• Increase Energy
• Improve posture and balance
• Strengthen muscles and bones
• Promote self-esteem
• Enhance overall quality of life
HOW ACTIVE IS ACTIVE?
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines set activity targets based on age. Please keep in mind that these guidelines outline the BARE MINIMUM, and that the more physical activity you fit into your daily routine the better.
Children/Youth Aged 5-17
Should accumulate at least 60 minutes of physical activity that is moderate to vigorous in intensity daily. Such activities should include:
• Running, jogging, bike rides, swimming, inline skating
• Sports: Hockey, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, football, dance class . . . etc.
• Activities that strengthen muscles and bones: body weight exercise movements
• Improved health
• Better grades
• Improved mental clarity
• Improved fitness
• Grow stronger
• Fun with friends
• Feel happier
• Maintain healthy body weight
• Improved self-confidence / self-esteem
• Learn new skills
Adults Ages 18-64
Should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week. It’s also beneficial to add resistance training using major muscle groups at least 2 days each week.
Reduced risk of:
• premature death
• heart disease
• high blood pressure
• certain cancers
• type 2 diabetes
• being overweight or obese
• Fitness, Strength, bone density
• Mental health (improved mood, less depression, anxiety, stress)
• Mental clarity
• Quality of life
Adults Aged 65+
Should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week. Again, it is beneficial to add resistance training on 2 days per week that includes all major muscle groups. Those with poor mobility should perform physical activities to enhance their balance and prevent falls.
Reduced risk of:
• Chronic disease (such as high blood pressure and heart disease)
• Premature death
• Maintain functional independence
• Maintain mobility
• Improve fitness
• Improve or maintain bodyweight
• Maintain bone health
• Maintain mental health
So, you’ve read this article and your thinking, “yeah sure but where do I even start?” Exercise doesn’t have to be some magical thing that only elite athletes do. Walking is considered exercise, taking the stairs instead of the escalator is considered exercise, as is cutting the grass or doing groceries. The point is to start small and build your way up gradually.
Plus-One is a mind set of taking your physical activity One Step Further every time you exercise. It could mean adding an additional minute to your walk, run, or bike ride, or adding one extra set to a workout. Whatever it means to you, but keep adding to what you can already do and in due time you will become healthier, fitter, happier and enjoying a better quality of life all around.