Canada’s Exercise Guidelines Changing

A child exercising on a chin-up bar.
Image: Wikimedia Commons; U.S. Navy photo by Aviation Electricians Mate 3rd Class Omari Janhrette

On holidays, we republish interesting stories from our archives. This article was originally published on Jan. 14, 2011.

When you can’t reach your goal, what do you do? Lower the goal, according to the Canadian government.

That’s what they’re doing with Canada’s fitness guidelines. Only 12 per cent of kids and less than 50 per cent of adults get as much exercise as they’re supposed to, so the government is bringing down the standards.

They’re hoping that with a lower goal to shoot for, more people will try harder to get as much exercise as they need.

The new lower guidelines will now be more in line with those in the United States, Britain and Australia:
* 22 minutes of active time per day for adults (down from 60 minutes)
* 60 minutes of active time per day for children (down from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the child’s fitness level).
* 22 minutes of moderate activity per week for people over 65 years old (down from 30 to 60 minutes).

If Canadians actually followed these guidelines, experts say, the country’s overall physical condition would improve greatly.

Note: There is an ESL version of this article, available here.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
At many schools, students have gym class a few times a week.  Often students go home after school and do not do any physical activities.  This means that many students are not getting the 60 minutes of active time per day, which is the amount that the Canadian government says children should have.

Who is responsible for students not getting enough exercise?  Should it be the schools’ responsibility?  Should parents and guardians make sure that their children are active for 60 minutes a day?  Or should students be responsible for their own health?

Reading Prompt
In January, many people make New Year’s Resolutions.  These are goals that we hope to achieve by the end of the year.  One goal that many people make is to exercise more.

Do you think that these lower guidelines will encourage people to exercise more often?  If not, what do you think the people working in the government could do to encourage people to exercise more?

identify the point of view presented in a text and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9)  

identify the point of view presented in texts; determine whether they can agree with the view, in whole or in part; and suggest some other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9)

Grammar Feature: Bullet Points
The author of the article listed the new fitness guidelines using bullet points.  Bullet points are dots that go at the beginning of each item in a list.  Why do you think the author used bullet points?  Do you think they help the reader understand the article?