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Step up to a Healthier You with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit

Physical Activity

Canada's Physical Activity Guide

Canada's Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living for Older Adults recommends accumulating 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days to stay healthy or to improve health. Does this sound impossible? The good news is that the activity can be done in periods of 10 minutes throughout the day. No matter how busy your schedule is, your health is well worth it!

Light activity:

Light intensity activities get you moving but don't necessarily get your heart rate up too high, too fast. Examples: light walking, easy gardening, stretching.

Moderate activity:

Moderate intensity activities require a little more effort. You will notice that your heart rate is a bit more elevated and your breathing a bit laboured. Examples: brisk walking, cycling, swimming.

Important:

Keep in mind that depending on your current health and fitness level, what may be challenging for one person may be relatively easy for another. It's important to know what is comfortable for your body and not to overdo it. Every new activity will provide a level of challenge. Your body eventually adapts to the new workload and it's ready for more. You need to walk before you can run!

Types of activity:

Canada's Physical Activity Guide addresses the three major components of physical activity:

  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Strength & Balance

Endurance:

4-7 days a week
Endurance activities are ones that require large muscle groups moving in a repeated motion over and over again: walking, cycling, swimming, cross country skiing. These activities strengthen your heart, lungs and circulatory system.

Flexibility:

Daily
Flexibility activities involve gentle reaching, bending and stretching activities to keep your muscles relaxed and joints mobile.

Strength & Balance:

2-4 days a week
Strength activities work against resistance to strengthen muscles and bones, prevent bone loss and improve balance and posture. Strength activities involve lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling.

We will be focusing on each of these components over the course of the next three classes. Keep in mind that some activities are a combination of two or three components. Example: Swimming is primarily an endurance activity as you repeat the same movement over and over again using large muscle groups - arms and legs. But at the same time, the resistance of the water helps to strengthen your muscles and reaching with your arms, as in the front crawl, stretches out the muscles in your arms and shoulders.