The new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth encourage children and youth to “Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit”.
For optimal health benefits, children and youth (aged 5–17 years) should achieve high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep each day.
A healthy 24 hours includes:
- Uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times;
- An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities. Vigorous physical activities and muscle and bone strengthening activities should each be incorporated at least 3 days per week;
- Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activities;
- No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time;
- Limited sitting for extended periods.
Preserving sufficient sleep, trading indoor time for outdoor time, and replacing sedentary behaviours and light physical activity with additional moderate to vigorous physical activity can provide greater health benefits.