Published on May 2, 2022 at 8:00 / Updated on June 1, 2022 at 8:01

When it comes to maintaining your health, exercise is key. It can be adapted to any situation.

Staying active prolongs life expectancy. It also has a number of benefits  such as:

  • Preventing chronic diseases:
    • Cancer
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Heart disease
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Helps maintain mental health
    • Improves sleep
    • Reduces stress
    • Helps maintain good muscle mass
    • Increases bone density
    • Helps adults and seniors remain independent for longer.

    Intensity

    You don't need to run a marathon to be physically active. Walking can be a great place to start. If you walk at least 5 days a week at a good pace, you are considered an active person. You can also stay motivated by inviting someone to join you.

    Intensity refers to the energy you expend while exercising. Here's how to distinguish between various intensity levels:

    • Light intensity: Your breathing is a little heavier than normal but you can still hold a regular conversation.
    • Moderate intensity: Your breathing is heavier than normal and you can speak in short sentences only.
    • High intensity: Your breathing is very heavy and you can only speak in very short sentences.

    Here are a few examples of activities you can do according to various intensity levels:

    Light intensityModerate intensityHigh intensity
    Walking at a slow paceWalking at a fast paceRunning
    GolfingSkatingSwimming or cycling at a high speed
    BowlingDancingAerobics
    HousekeepingPlaying games and sports with childrenCross-country skiing, volleyball, or competitive hockey

    Duration and objectives

    Ideally, you should be active every day, setting realistic and gradual goals to get there. For example, doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. To achieve this, try doing 3 short sessions of 10 minutes each.

    Here are a few recommendations for adults:

    • A total of 150 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity aerobic activity per week.
    • At least 2 strength-training activities per week.
    • 7 to 9 hours of high-quality sleep with a consistent bedtime and wake-up time.
    • No more than 8 hours of sedentary activity (not active) per day. This includes the following:
      • No more than 3 hours of screen time per day (outside of work hours)
      • Interrupting long periods of time spent sitting down as often as possible.
    • For people over the age of 65, practise exercises that work on balance.
    • For young people between the ages of 5 and 17, at least 1 hour of moderate- to high-intensity physical activity per day is recommended.

      A few tips

      • Choose activities that you enjoy
      • Establish a routine
      • Reduce your screen time outside of work
      • Choose active modes of transportation to get from point A to point B (e.g., walking, biking, or running)
      • Spread your workouts throughout the week
      • Join a group or team

      You can also consult a kinesiologist to set up an exercise routine adapted to your needs.

      For more information:
      ParticipACTION
      www.participaction.com/en-ca
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