How much physical activity should adults get daily?
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We recommend that all adults aim for 30 minutes of moderate daily activity that gets your heart going.
It's good to be active in different ways, including vigorous and moderate activities and strengthening exercises. Find your favourites and fit in at least one every day. There are lots of ways to fit physical activity into your day without going to a gym.
Moderate aerobic activity
Moderate aerobic activity makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster. You should be able to talk but not sing.
- walking quickly
- household chores like vacuuming or shovelling snow
Vigorous aerobic activity
Vigorous aerobic activity makes your heart rate increase quite a bit. You won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
- running or jogging
- cross-country skiing
- hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
Muscle-strengthening activities build up your muscles.
- push-ups and sit-ups
- lifting weights
- digging in the garden
Bone-strengthening activities help make your bones stronger.
- carrying groceries
- climbing stairs
Before you start any new exercise routine, it's a good idea to check with a healthcare professional. Your doctor may be able to suggest activities that suit your age, fitness level and general health – and let you know if there are any activities you should avoid.
For Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, visit the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.
Use the time to listen to a new podcast or your favourite music.
Add a bit here and there by doing bicep curls with bags of groceries, lunges down the hallway, calf raises while brushing your teeth, desk push‐ups before sitting down and wall sits while on the phone or reading the paper.
While you’re watching, lift weights or do sit‐ups, walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike, jump rope or stretch.
Ideas include golf, tennis, cycling, hiking, mall‐walking, dancing, yoga and swimming.
Start small by alternating walking down the stairs one day and walking up the stairs the next until you take the stairs for both trips.
Start with 2,000 to 4,000 steps at a brisk pace.
Counting your steps and activities will help keep you motivated.
Ideas include walking, running, yoga, cycling or strength training.
Build up the distance that you travel each day until you can make it the whole way.
This can relieve tension when you have to sit for long periods of time.
Instead of watching them play, join them in a game of tag or soccer.
Invite the neighbours and their kids over to play ball hockey, cricket or basketball.
This is a great way to find a solution together instead of phoning or sending an email.