Whole Day Matters

The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA), in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada and ParticipACTION, have come up with a 24 Hour Movement Guideline for Adults. Since the month of May is Physiotherapy Awareness month, it is a good month to think about your daily movement behaviour!

The current motto is to “Move More, Reduce Sedentary Time, and Sleep Well” each day. It’s as easy as that, folks! (right?) The goal is to think about your daily habits and recognize where there may be room for improvement. As physiotherapists and health and wellness specialists, we are interested in understanding your daily behaviours of activity, being sedentary and sleep habits and how they may have contributed to/or are affected by an injury.

In essence, the CPA and contributing organizations, have outlined that being active, less sedentary and more rested can help to “improve your bone health and physical function, enhance your quality of life, mood, and ability to think, and lower your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, several cancers, anxiety, depression, dementia, falls, and injuries from falls”.

These new guidelines recommend that Moving More should include:

  • 150+ minutes a week of activities that make you sweat
  • Resistance exercise 2+ days per week
  • Several hours of light activity each day

Aim to do activities you enjoy and all intensities and active minutes in a day count. Especially your physio/rehab exercises!

Reducing Sedentary Time should ideally be:

  • 8 hours or less of sedentary time
  • 3 hours or less of recreational screen time in your free time
  • Taking frequent breaks when sitting for long durations

This could include standing, walking or stretching while on the phone, and setting a timer for each hour to stand or stretch if your job involves sitting at a desk.

The Sleeping Well guidelines recommend:

  • 7-9 hours a day of good quality sleep
  • Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Some helpful tips for having a good sleep include – avoiding caffeine after 2pm, turning off screens 30min to 1 hour before bed and having a dark, relaxing bedroom setting.

The screen time is tricky, as many people enjoy watching shows or being on their phones before bed. It has been found that the blue light emitted from phones affects our melatonin levels. This is a natural hormone in our body that helps to trigger fatigue at night time. Sleep is truly the glue that holds us together at any age! When we can achieve a good sleep pattern, it has been shown to increase focus, improve memory, decrease the likelihood of getting sick and decrease stress.

These movement behaviours and guidelines aim to change health outcomes. When there are positive changes in one of the movement behaviours, it can lead to improvements in another. For example, when we increase our activity in a day, we tend to sleep better. Or, when we spend less time being sedentary, our activity minutes go up. If you notice an imbalance in your Whole Day activities, think what might be a barrier for you or what may be realistic for you to change in your day. “Tiny goals help us build the momentum we need to chase slightly bigger goals later” (Rescue Time).

Happy spring time to this great community. With sunnier skies, dryer trails and warmer weather, it’ll be much easier to get in those activity minutes!

Jennifer Gordon (BScPT, GunnIMS, Medical Acupuncture) Physiotherapist