Health and Fitness Canada

How Much Physical Activity Should I Get?

We all know that physical activity is important to our health, but how much should we be doing? 

CSEP (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology) created physical activity guidelines for all age demographics in Canada. The purpose of these guidelines is to facilitate an active lifestyle in an easy to understand form. 

From the CSEP website

“The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) is a national voluntary organization composed of professionals interested and involved in the scientific study of exercise physiology, exercise biochemistry, fitness, and health.”


“CSEP is the resource for translating advances in exercise science research into the promotion of fitness, performance, and health outcomes for Canadians. CSEP sets the highest standards for qualified exercise professionals through evidence-based practice and certification.”

The full document can be found here where there is more information for each age category. 


Early Years 0-4

Infants that are less than a year old should be active several times daily using interactive floor activity. Toddlers and preschoolers, 1-2 years and 3-4 years respectively should amass at least 180 minutes of any intensity physical activity throughout the day. 


Children 5-11

Children aged 5-11 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). This should include strength-focused activities at least three times a week and vigorous-intensity aerobic activities at least three days a week. 


Youth 12-17

The recommendation for youth aged 12-17 is the same as children, which is 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity including strength activities and vigorous activities three times per week. As children age, the physical activity they accumulate tends to come more in the form of structured activities like sports. 


Adults 18-64

For adults to see the health benefits of physical activity it is recommended that they accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week. Adults are also recommended to include strength activities at least twice per week using the major muscle groups. It should be noted that aerobic activity should be completed in bouts of 10 minutes or more to see a positive health effect. 


Older Adults 65+

The CSEP recommendation for older adults is the same recommendation for adults 18-64, which is least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week in bouts of at least 10 minutes and strength activities at least twice per week using the major muscle groups. The only difference in the guidelines for older adults is to include exercises that improve balance to prevent falls. 


Physical activity responses in a dose-response relationship meaning that the more daily physical activity the greater the health benefits. These guidelines are the minimal amount of physical activity to see health benefits and used to improve the individual’s total body health with the inclusion of both aerobic and strength training. 

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