Physical Activity and Teens

In Waterloo Region, only four per cent of youth between the ages of 12 and 17 get enough exercise. For the best health benefits, young people should be active and get sufficient sleep each day. To see what a healthy 24-hour cycle includes, check the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines.

Move more...

Youth should move throughout the day in a variety of activities. Teens are healthiest when they spend at least 60 minutes each day in activities of vigorous or moderate intensity. They should also take part in many light-intensity activities. This helps strengthen muscles and bones should be included at least three days a week.

Youth should be physically active at school, during leisure time, and on their way to and from school.

You can check Physical Activity Tips for Youth on the Public Health Agency of Canada website for suggestions on how to be active.

Move often...

Time spent being inactive should be minimized. Youth should not sit for long periods of time. Children and youth should limit recreational screen time to less than two hours a day.

Benefits of being active

Physical activity contributes to overall wellbeing in youth. Research shows many benefits, such as:

  • Improved school performance - grades, classroom behaviour, social interactions
  • Improved fitness levels - healthier bones, muscles, heart and lungs
  • Improved mental wellness - happier and fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Maintenance of a healthy body weight

Active video games

Active video games involve more body movement than older, more traditional video games. They can help keep youth moving during winter months and any time it is difficult to get outside. However, they do not replace other important types of physical activity. They also do not offer the social benefits that playing sports, walking with friends or taking dance lessons do. For more information, please refer to Active Video Games Position Statement released by Active Healthy Kids Canada.

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