Physical Activity Guidelines and Recommendations

Ask the Professional: Physical Activity Guidelines and Recommendations

Sarah Cumming- Exercise and Aquatic Therapist

 Regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and can be easier to incorporate into your day then you may think! Often the hardest part is getting into a routine, deciding what it is you should be doing for exercise, and how much.

The Canadian Physical Activity Guideline is a great resource to utilize in order to figure out how often you should exercise and what types of exercise you should be doing. It is recommended that individuals between the ages of 18-64 accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per week. If you are participating in primarily vigorous exercise, 75 minutes a week will achieve the health benefits. Some examples of aerobic activities include brisk walk, biking, swimming, running or jogging, playing soccer and hiking. You can even do the activity in small bouts of 10 minutes and it will still have benefits towards your health (if the total minutes throughout the week accumulate to 150). An easy way to monitor the intensity of your exercise, without the fancy heart rate monitors, is to do the Talk Test! The Talk Test indicates that you are participating in a moderate intensity exercise session if you are able to talk, but can’t sing, and you are working at a vigorous intensity if you can hardly talk while you are participating in the activity (i.e can only say a few words). Typically a moderate intensity is an appropriate place to start for most people. However, if you are new to exercise, have not been active for many years, or have questions and concerns, it is always good to check in with your health care provider!

Additionally, you should try to participate in muscle and bone strengthening exercises 2 days per week. Some examples of these exercises that you can do at home include push-ups, sit ups, squats, and bicep curls. Try to do 2-3sets of 8-10 repetitions. In order to determine the intensity of your strengthening exercise, your last 2 repetitions should be tiring, but not so much that you are losing your form. Finally, make sure you rest for 48hrs between strengthening each muscle group. It is also beneficial to incorporate balance exercises such as single leg standing!

If you have any questions or are looking to begin a new exercise program but you are unsure where to start, call us at 705-788-1480. We can help guide you and start you off on the right foot! As the weather gets nicer there are numerous opportunities for outside activity and getting in that 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise! You can also check out the website for the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (www.csep.ca) for additional details on the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.