Article

Tips for getting active at any age


Children, teens, adults and older adults all need physical activity to be healthy. Many of us feel we don’t have time to be physically active. However, meeting your physical activity goals is possible! Even 10 minutes of physical activity at a time has health benefits. Build up the amount of time you are physically active just 10 minutes at a time.  Read on to learn more about the amount of physical activity you need and fun ways to get active!






The chart below tells you how much physical activity you need to be healthy:

Age group

Amount of physical activity needed

Toddlers

At least 30 minutes per day

Preschoolers

At least 60 minutes per day

Children (aged 5 to 11)

Youth (aged 12 to 17)

At least 60 minutes per day

Adults (aged 18 to 64)

At least 150 minutes per week

Older Adults (aged 65 years and older)

At least 150 minutes per week

 

What are the health benefits of physical activity?

Physical activity has many health benefits! Physical activity helps to:

  • Maintain your weight
  • Lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer
  • Lower high blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Improve your health, fitness, strength and well-being
  • Decreases stress and depression
  • Support growth and development in children


What types of physical activity should I do?

It is important to do moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity. Both increase your heart rate, make you sweat and require you to breathe faster and harder.

Here are examples of moderate physical activity:

  • Walking quickly
  • Bike riding
  • Skating or skateboarding

Here are some examples of vigorous physical activity:

  • Running
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Fast dancing
  • Cross-country skiing


Tips on getting active

Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Start with simple activities that build your child’s confidence like kicking a large ball for toddlers and bouncing and catching a ball for preschoolers.
  • Encourage jumping and skipping during indoor and outdoor play time.
  • Play games that involve singing and dancing to music.

Children

  • Encourage your children to walk, bike ride or run to school.
  • Enroll them in a dance class or encourage them to join a sports team at school.
  • Have them help with tasks around the house like walking the dog, raking the leaves or carrying the groceries.
  • Set a time each week to go out for a family walk or visit a local community centre.

Youth

  • Encourage your adolescent children to walk or cycle to school, join a sports team or enroll in dance class.
  • Simple games like playing handball, tag, Frisbee and skip rope are all inexpensive ways to get active.

Adults

  • Adults can take the stairs instead of the escalator, run or walk with a friend or join a class.
  • The local library may have yoga, pilates and aerobic videos you can view and exercise to.

Older Adults

  • Older adults can join a group or take a class in the community.
  • Try walking or taking the stairs as much as possible.
  • Slowly increase your activity level by 10 minutes at a time.

Find more tips on how to get active here.   


Before you start being physically active

If you have a medical condition, speak to your health professional before starting a physical activity routine. 


Take home message

You can enjoy physical activity no matter what your age and stage of life. Physical activity can help people live a healthier life. Physical activity is something you can do just about anywhere or anytime. Every bit counts! Even 10 minutes of physical activity at a time has health benefits. Build up the amount of time you are physically active just 10 minutes at a time. 

If you have a medical condition, speak to your health professional before starting a physical activity routine. 

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Last Update – June 26, 2015

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