New Canadian 24-hr Integrated Guidelines!

We are all likely familiar with the nutrition guidelines and the physical activity guidelines for both youth and adults. Recently, however, Canada has created new guidelines that integrate physical activity, sleep, and sedentary behavior. The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (aged 5-17) addresses four Ss: sweat, step, sleep, sit. These new guidelines provide a more holistic recommendation for overall health.

“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.” – the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP)

For more information about the guidelines:
Integrating physical activity, sleep and sedentary behaviour — a world first! Sept. 1, 2016 (Link to article)
24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (Link to guidelines)

Let’s Be Like Tennessee

As of July 2, 2016, Tennessee law mandates that students in grades K-1 get 225 minutes of physical activity per week while in school and that students in grade 2-6 get 160 minutes of weekly activity. This is an increase from the previous 90 minutes of required physical activity per week, a mark that will continue in grade 7-12. The Tennessee Department of Education acknowledges it will be difficult to ‘find’ time for physical activity during the school day, but recognizes that the benefit to cognition, behavior, and academic performance has the potential to outweigh any barriers.

The research supports Tennessee’s decision. So let’s all be like Tennessee…and get kids moving!

See more about Tennessee’s policy on our “In the News” page.

More Recess…for ALL Students!

Recently, several schools across the country have increased the quantity of recess that early elementary students receive (see our In the News page). Preliminary qualitative results suggest that extended or additional recess breaks facilitate an improvement in students’ focus in the class. This is consistent with empirical research that supports a connection between physical activity and time on task in the classroom. However, this research would further support offering more recess minutes to students of all grade levels. One can hypothesize that schools are hesitant to adopt this practice in standardized testing grades, but studies show that adding physical activity time is not detrimental to academic performance. As such, teachers and administrators are encouraged to consider how to increase physical activity and recess time across elementary school. Let’s get kids moving!

Update: Video link about the increased recess program (Jan. 18, 2016)

Gold star for South Carolina schools!

This article, published last month, looks at some of the ways South Carolina schools are bringing movement and activity to students during the school day.  The instigator of the new programming says, “This is unbelievably hard to sell,” and yet there has been initial success in increasing opportunities.  We need to continue to educate teachers and educational policy makers on the benefits of activity, both for health and for academic performance.  And we must celebrate those who are promoting activity in classroom, like David Spurlock, the coordinator of health, wellness and physical education for the Charleston County School District.

Read the full article here and view our “In the News” page for more relevant stories.