The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) updated the guidelines for physical activity in the fall of 2020. More specifically, experts are now talking about Canadian guidelines for 24-hour movement: an integration of physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep. So it’s not just about exercising, but also avoiding long periods of inactivity and getting enough sleep.
For several years, studies have shown that sleep, sedentary behavior, and moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease. Recently, light physical activity, such as activities of daily living such as housework, shopping and cooking, has also been shown to have a positive effect on health.
In a 24-hour day, there is necessarily a portion of the time that is devoted to moving (more or less intensely), another portion to doing more sedentary activities (watching television, reading, writing, playing games. company) and the rest of the time sleeping. Obviously, the time spent doing one or the other of these activities influences the time spent doing the others, there are always only 24 hours in a day, no matter what you do with it!
New research has examined how the components of physical activity, inactivity and sleep interact together and influence health status. They have shown that an optimal combination of these three components over a 24 hour period helps promote health. In other words, studies show the importance of measuring your level of physical activity and how long you sleep over a full day to determine the potential for positive effects.
According to the CSEP, older adults, including those aged 65 and over, should be physically active every day, limit sedentary behaviors and get enough sleep.
An optimal day should include:
2. A maximum of 8 hours of sedentary lifestyle, which includes
3. A good night’s sleep, with regular times to get up and go to bed
Following these guidelines helps reduce the risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and other illnesses. In addition, it provides mental health benefits. Indeed, a level of physical activity and adequate sleep improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and dementia and provide better cognitive abilities and a better quality of life.
These guidelines are suitable for most adults, but may require some adaptation to meet the needs of people with a limitation or medical condition. It is recommended that you consult a health professional such as a kinesiologist to make sure that the practice of physical activities is appropriate, safe and effective.
As an indication, for adults with multiple sclerosis, the benefits of physical activity are recognized, but the guidelines differ slightly. For these people, CSEP recommends:
In summary, it is necessary to reduce sedentary behavior, to move more during the day and to reach a sufficient intensity during certain physical activities (at a rate of 150 min per week), while maintaining a sufficient duration of sleep. However, reaching the goals of frequency, intensity and duration of exercise should be done gradually until the goals mentioned above are reached.
Every action counts and any progress towards achieving one or more of these components will result in health benefits!