Canada has new Physical Activity Recommendations?

Elizabeth Langford

The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP) just released new exercise recommendations after 3 years of research analysis. The research reviewed the current recommendations and its plausibility for preventing chronic disease, morbidity and mortality. The findings of this research, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, were published in May 2010.

Here are the updated recommendations for Canadians:

Adults (aged 18 to 65)

Recommendation #1:

For a reduced risk of premature mortality, cardiovascular disease-related events and mortality, stroke, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer and type II diabetes, it is recommended to participate in 30 min or more of moderate to vigorous exercise on most days of the week. Greater health benefits appear to occur with higher volumes and/or intensities of activity.

Recommendation #2:

For a reduced risk of osteoporosis, it is recommended that individuals should participate in load bearing activities for 30 min or more on most days of the week.

Average Risk Reduction % in Physically Active Individuals (compared to Inactive Individuals)
Chronic Disease Risk Reduction %
All-cause mortality 31%
Cardiovascular Disease 33%
Stroke 31%
Hypertension 32%
Colon Cancer 30%
Breast Cancer 20-40%
Type II Diabetes 42%
(Warburton et al., 2010).

Older Adults (65+)


  • Older adults should get 150-180 min/week (30 minutes, 5 days a week) of moderate intensity physical activity.
  • Physical activity should be mostly aerobic, with resistance activities 2 days/week, and flexibility and balance training activities 4-7 days/week to prevent falls and facilitate independent living.
  • This physical activity translates to a >30% decreased risk of morbidity and mortality, and loss of independence. This intensity and amount of exercise is effective in preventing functional limitations and potentially delaying mobility disability in older age.
  • Research has shown that physical activity also has a positive effect on cognitive function.


  1. Warburton, D. Charlesworth, S. Ivey, A. Nettlefold, L. Bredin, S. (2010). A systematic review of the evidence for canada's physical activity guidelines for adults. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7(39).
  2. Paterson, D.H. and Warburton, D.ER. (2010). Physical activity and functional limitations in older adults: a systematic review related to canada�s physical activity guidelines. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7(38).

The articles, on the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada website, are presented with the understanding that the Foundation is providing information only and not rendering medical advice. Please check with your family physician, specialist or health care professional before implementing any of the ideas expressed in these articles.