Sweat, step, sleep, and sit: The new 24-hour movement guidelines

How active — and how rested — is your child in a typical day? The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth suggest that kids need to “sweat, step, sleep, and sit” every day.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) released the world’s first 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (5 to 17 years) in tandem with the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. The guidelines provide recommendations to ensure kids find the right balance of daily sleep, physical activity, and sedentary time for proper health and development.

The 24-Hour Movement Guidelines represent the first research-based recommendations that encompass the whole day. In keeping with the research, the Guidelines stipulate that we need to take an integrated view of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep. In short, we need to move away from a compartmentalized understanding of physical activity, and we need to move towards a holistic view that promotes balance.

Not surprisingly, the Guidelines recommend high levels of physical activity, short durations of sedentary time, and sufficient sleep each day. According to CSEP, each 24-hour day should include:

  • 9 to 11 hours sleep per night for children aged 5 to 13 years
  • 8 to 10 hours sleep per night for teens aged 14 to 17 years
  • Consistent bed and wake-up times
  • At least 60 minutes of accumulated moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) each day
  • Vigorous physical activities and muscle and bone strengthening activities at least three days per week
  • Several hours of light to moderate physical activity throughout the week
  • No more than two hours per day of recreational screen time
  • Avoid sitting for extended periods

The guidelines are an important new step towards supporting the healthy growth and development of Canadian kids. To learn more, check out the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth.

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