Practicing healthy movement behaviours in the COVID-19 era
Each year on April 6th, the World Health Organization celebrates World Physical Activity Day Agita Mundo: Move for Health. Yet this year, Canadians are being asked to practice physical distancing to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Many Canadians now work from home, cancelling large meetings, and generally limiting their physical interactions with their colleagues, peers, and family.
These new restrictions may affect the physical and mental health of Canadians. Now more than ever is the time to adhere to healthy lifestyle behaviours, including a good night’s sleep, engaging in regular exercise, and moderating your sedentary time to maintain a healthy immune system and build a strong defence. Getting some time outdoors every day if you can, is also important to combat feelings of depression and anxiety that may come with self-isolation.
The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines
What does adhering to healthy movement behaviours look like? The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) has published Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the early years, children and youth, and Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults, and older adults.
Robert Ross, PhD, a researcher from Queen’s University and Chair of the CSEP Consensus Panel developing Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults (18 years and older) believes that it’s important for adults to “stay active while practicing physical distancing, break up sedentary time spent in front of screens while working from home and try to get outdoors for at least a few minutes each day to help cope with the challenges presented by COVID-19.”
Unless you are told to self-isolate, practicing physical distancing includes being active outdoors while respecting distances and infection etiquette (e.g., staying two meters apart, coughing into elbows, thoroughly washing hands when back inside).
Read more about the CSEP Guidelines and tips for healthy movement behaviours here.
Adam Upshaw, PhD, CSEP Board Chair, notes that “During these uncertain times, we do have control over our behaviours and that is empowering. Getting active, moderating screen time, and ensuring a consistent bedtime routine with sufficient sleep duration, while adhering carefully to public health guidance can help maintain a healthy immune system.”
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) is a national voluntary organization composed of professionals interested and involved in the scientific study of exercise physiology, exercise biochemistry, fitness, and health. CSEP is the resource for translating advances in exercise science research into the promotion of fitness, performance, and health outcomes for Canadians. CSEP sets the highest standards for qualified exercise professionals through evidence-based practice and certification. Learn more about us here.
Please note that the information published here is based on current recommendations. The situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving and recommendations may be subject to change. For updated information, please check with your local public health authority.