Why Physical Activity?

Participating in regular physical activity and limiting sedentary behaviour is an effective way to prevent the development of many health risks, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Since 1995, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) have worked together on the development of Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines to promote healthy active living in the Canadian population.

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years)

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years), encourage children and youth to participate in a variety of enjoyable and safe physical activities that support their natural development. The guidelines describe the amount and types of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits for Canadians.

For health benefits, children and youth (aged 5 − 17 years) should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. This should include:

  • Vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week
  • Activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days per week
  • Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activities
  • Uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times
  • No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time; Limited sitting for extended periods.

For more information on the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years), go to: