Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for children in their early years released.

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for children in their early years released.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) came up with a 24-hour movement guidelines for children. These 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (ages 0-4) show there is an important relationship between how much sleep, sedentary behaviour and physical activity children get in a 24-hour period.

The profound benefits of a physically active lifestyle are recognized even for young people. As young children grow and develop, they need to work towards high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour and sufficient sleep each day to be healthy. It is also important that we acknowledge what nutrients they need to nourish their bodies depending on their age and activity level.

The question is, how much physical activity do children need per day?

A systematic review of studies that used pedometers to promote physical activity in children and adolescents was published. In summary, the updated normative data (i.e., expected values) based on international studies indicates that we can expect 1) among children, boys to average 12,000 to 16,000 steps/day and girls to average 10,000 to 13,000 steps/day; and, 2) steps/day values in adolescents to steadily decrease until approximately 8,000-9,000 steps/day are observed in 18-year olds.

According to the new guidelines by CSEP, Infants, toddlers and preschoolers need to move, sleep and sit the right amounts. Children between the ages of 5 – 17 are encouraged to live an active lifestyle with a daily balance of sleep, sedentary behaviours and physical activities that support their development. For adults between the ages of 18 – 64 years old, they should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. It is also beneficial to add strength training at least 2 days per week.

The evidence accumulated to date indicates that there is no simple or "magical" number of steps/day that cuts across all ages. Preschool children are different from primary/elementary school age children, and children are different from adolescents. One thing that we know for sure is that exercise can help children in so many ways including reducing the risk obesity and can lead to improved fitness, strength and mental health.

You can help by encouraging your child to find activities they enjoy and building physical activity into family life. For example: go roller skating, rollerblading or skateboarding, indoors or outside. In winter, go ice skating. Find time every weekend to do something active with your children and remember to keep it fun!


Photo: Nerdy Mamma

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