Even walking the dog could qualify as part of the 150 minutes per week that Canadians are failing to get, according to ParticipACTION. (needpix.com)

Canadians get a D in physical activity: report card

Many Canadians don’t get the 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week

How much have you moved today? Likely not enough, according to a ParticipACTION report card released Tuesday.

The non-profit organization assigned a D grade to Canadian adults for how much they move on a given day or week, with most not even coming close to meeting goals for daily movement, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, muscle- and bone-strengthening activities and balance training.

The best category was daily movement, for which the non-report gave a C grade, meaning that 52 per cent of people get at least 7,500 steps per day.

Ryan Rhodes, a professor of health psychology at the University of Victoria, said the 7,500-step goal is replacing the 10,000 one.

The 10,000 goal was adopted from Japan and “was a nice round number,” Rhodes said, but new research suggests that 7,500 steps is likely a better benchmark.

When it came to working up a sweat or getting a bit out of breath, Canadians did poorly.

Only 16 per cent of adults aged 18 to 79 got the weekly recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, getting an F grade.

Rhodes said there tends to be an “intention gap” when it comes to moderate or vigorous exercise.

“Over 70 per cent of people have good intentions, but not very many people are meeting those intentions,” he said.

“We have these great New Year’s resolutions and then, two weeks later, everyone’s abandoned them.”

Rhodes said it’s not necessary to go to the gym or hike up a mountain to get your 150 minutes. Moderate to vigorous activity just means getting a little out of breath, he said, such as a brisker-than-usual walk.

But people have to get something out of it if they’re going to stick to it.

“When we’re engaging in something like physical activity, we usually start for weight-loss reasons,” he said, adding that people only stick to an exercise plan if they enjoy it.

“Just picking up the pace a little bit may be sufficient to move people into moderate and vigorous categories.”

READ MORE: Dog owners have reduced risk of dying from heart problems, says researcher

READ MORE: Canadians believe physical inactivity is nearly as bad as smoking: study

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