Benefits of Physical Activity

Benefits of Physical Activity

Greetings NSTEPpers!

With the weather getting nicer, it makes it easier to be active outside! For many of us, it is still challenging to find the time and motivation to be more active. This blog will discuss why physical activity is so important as well as offer some tips and fun videos.

In 2016, the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP) released 24-hour movement guidelines for ages 5-17, followed by the early years (0-4 years) in 2017, and adults in late 2020. Canadians are sitting more and walking less. The 24-hour movement guidelines encourage a variety of movement throughout the day – this will help us reduce our risk of chronic disease. They emphasize the importance of daily physical activity and sleep.

Guidelines for different age groups and the benefits of staying active can be found at https://csepguidelines.ca or download the PDFs here:

 

Benefits of Physical Activity

As identified by ParticipACTION

Increase in overall health

A benefit of regular physical activity is an overall increase in health. High impact activities like running, jump rope, and strength training promote bone growth that lowers the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Activities that increase your heart rate and breathing rate improve heart health and your body’s ability to use oxygen.

Improve memory, attention span, and problem-solving abilities

A chemical in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released immediately after doing activities that get your heart pumping such as running, swimming, or biking to name a few. BDNF improves memory, mental sharpness, and concentration. Getting in some activity early in the morning or going for a walk during your lunch break can potentially make a huge difference!

Feel happier 

Regular physical activity reduces stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and releases endorphins and “feel-good” hormones (serotonin and dopamine) in your body, improving your overall mood. Activity is vital to helping our mental and emotional health!

Sleep better

When people are stressed, a stress hormone called cortisol is released. Too much cortisol can make it more difficult to sleep because our body feels like it’s in a “fight or flight” mode. Daily activity and meditation can help lower stress, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

 

Helping Your Family to Get More Active

Getting active together is a great way to bond with family and helps build healthy habits for the future. Did you know that each additional 20 minutes of activity (moderate-vigorous) a parent or guardian takes part in increases their child’s average daily activity level by 5 minutes? This goes to show how important it is that parents/guardians are active too! 

Here are 3 tips for guardians and parents:

  1. Be an active role model: Lead by example by incorporating physical activity into your daily routine and find ways to make it fun for everyone! 
  2. Create a family media plan: Set limits on daily screen time and dedicate time to screen-free activities with family. Some suggestions are playing board games, cooking, or doing crafts together. 
  3. Encourage outdoor time: This can be as simple as going on a walk to explore nature, gardening, or getting some yard work done. 
 

Resources

ParticipACTION has some great videos to get you started, no matter what your age or ability is. Remember, the most important thing is to get your body moving, and to have fun doing it! 

  1. Cardio Dance 
  2. Cardio Boxing 
  3. Flexibility 
  4. Strength and Endurance 

For more physical activity videos, visit here

Now let’s get moving! 

 

References: ParticipACTION. The Role of the Family in the Physical Activity, Sedentary and Sleep Behaviours of Children and Youth. The 2020 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Toronto: ParticipACTION; 2020.

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