I’ve been hearing a lot of people around me lately saying things like, “I’m pretty active, I do three yoga classes a week” or “I work in construction, that’s the same as me going to the gym”. At face value, these comments seem true, but are they? How do we know how much is exercise is enough? Talk to a bodybuilder at a gym and they’ll tell you that you need to be in the gym at least 5 days per week, whereas your aunt Kathy might tell you that her twice a week walking program is all she needs. Who’s right?
Well, there’s one key piece of information missing before we can answer this question. How much exercise is enough for what? Depending on your goal, the answer to this question can change drastically. For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to assume the full question is “How much exercise do I need to be generally healthy?”. Again, the answer can vary depending on your age or if you have other health conditions, but what about for the average person? Fortunately, there is an incredibly useful tool already developed to help answer this question from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), one of Canada’s leading authorities on health and exercise.
In October 2020, CSEP released recommendations for how much exercise is enough in their “Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines” based on your age. Many of the people reading this will fall between the 18-64 years old range, for which the recommendation is at least 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity (exercise that makes you start breathing heavier) per week, and at least two sessions of muscle strengthening exercises each week. It’s not just about being active either, they recommend no more than 3 hours a day of recreational screen time and breaking up long periods of sitting. For those of you who fall outside this age bracket, the links to the recommendations are posted below.
So, there’s your answer on how much exercise is enough to be generally healthy, all laid out in a nice, one-page, easier-to-read document for you. Click the links below to read on
0-4 Years Old: https://csepguidelines.ca/guidelines/early-years/
5-17 Years Old: https://csepguidelines.ca/guidelines/children-youth/
18-64 Years Old: https://csepguidelines.ca/guidelines/adults-18-64/
65+ Years Old: https://csepguidelines.ca/guidelines/adults-65/