In today’s society, most of us do not exert ourselves physically unless we make a conscious effort to set aside special time dedicated towards physical activity.  As such, it is important that we are all making sure that we do get enough exercise, and Canada now has brand new guidelines.  Are you getting enough?

On January 24th, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology published the 2011 Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, which are easily downloadable for free online.  There are four sets of guidelines for different age groups, each on an easy-to-read one page summary sheet.  Here is a summary of what is currently recommended:

Children aged 5-17 years:

  • at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per day:
  • this should include vigorous activity at least 3 days per week;
  • this should include activity that strengthens muscle and bone at least 3 days per week


  • at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more
  • add muscle strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least twice a week
  • for adults aged 65 and older, those with poor mobility should perform physical activities to enhance balance and prevent falls

It is noted for all age groups that more daily physical activity (above what is recommended) provides greater health benefits.  Specific helpful suggestions are also provided for the different age groups for possible activities to engage in.

Take a moment and review these guidelines with your family – are you and your loved ones getting enough exercise?  If not, think about how you can work some extra activity into your daily life.  Remember that before you engage in any new exercise program, it is important to speak with your doctor to review the safety of any planned changes in physical activity in the context of your personal health; in some cases, a heart checkup (possibly with additional testing) is important before engaging in any new exercise.  No different that getting your bike checked after some time in storage, before you take it for a ride!

Have fun!!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2011

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