It’s not just kids that’re getting too much screen time and not enough physical activity – adults aren’t up to scratch, either.
According to a first-ever report card for adults from Participaction, a non-profit group that promotes healthy living and typically ranks children’s fitness levels, Canadians over the age of 18 scored a D in overall physical activity. The report suggests Canadian adults are spending too much time sitting, and not enough time engaging in heart-pumping exercise.
When it comes to moderate-to-vigorous activity, adults scored even lower – the notorious F-grade, as just 16 per cent of adults get the recommended 150 minutes each week.
Participaction scientist Dr. Leigh Vanderloo says Canadians that are too busy with work and family should do their best to find pockets of time to squeeze in some physical activity in their week. Even small changes can go a long way, from standing more at the office to parking your car further from your destination and walking the rest of the way.
“Physical activity has really been socially engineered out of our day-to-day lives, from even as simple as the majority of the work we do no longer requires physical labour,” says Vanderloo.
“Can you do two 10- or 15-minute brisk walks? If you do, make sure that you have deodorant or face wipes or dry shampoo at your desk at all times so that that doesn’t become a barrier.”
Canadians spend too much time in a seated or reclined position, Vanderloo adds. The study includes Statistics Canada data that says roughly 86 per cent of adults are sedentary for more than eight hours per day, excluding sleep time.
“We’re more sedentary than before. Getting people to move more is always a focus but now we need to also reduce sedentary and sitting behaviour which is also detrimental,” says Vanderloo, suggesting office workers take more frequent “standing breaks” or “walking meetings.”
Physical inactivity can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases, cognitive decline, falls and social isolation among older adults.
Surprisingly, the report also gave the government a B- for promoting physical activity, but still calls on all levels of government to have facilities and programs for not only kids, but adults as well.
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