What is physical activity?
Physical activity happens any time you use your muscles to move your body, resulting in increased heart rate and breathing. There are two main types of physical activity:
Active living is a way of life where physical activity is natural and integrated into daily life. It can be any type of physical activity. Examples include walking or cycling for transportation, household chores, gardening and shovelling snow.
Exercise is a form of physical activity that is planned, repetitive and purposeful to improve or maintain fitness. Examples include brisk walking, jogging, playing sports and working out.
Youth (ages 12-17 years) are recommended to get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily, and should engage in activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least three days per week.
Benefits of regular physical activity for youth:
- Healthy bodies: Being active helps youth build a healthy heart, bones and muscles. It also helps to maintain a healthy body weight.
- Positive self-esteem and good mental health: Physical activity helps youth feel good about themselves. It provides opportunity to help them master a skill. It helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
- Better grades: Being active helps to improve memory and concentration, fosters creativity and problem-solving skills.
- Better social skills: Playing team activities and sports helps youth develop and maintain friendship and learn cooperation and leadership skills
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), www.csep.ca/guidelines
Last modified on Jan 28, 2015