Get Moving: 24-Hour Movement Guidelines

Sad ClockFor the first time in our society, kids are sitting more than they sleep.

According to the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity and Children and Youth, “Canadian kids are inactive and they may be losing sleep over it.” For every hour that our kids spend in sedentary activities, their sleep is delayed by 3 minutes. With the average kid, age 5 to 17, spending 8.5 hours of sedentary behavior each day, this is having a negative effect on their sleep – so much so that it is being referred to as a “sleepidemic” (ParticipACTION, 2016). About one-third of Canadian kids are sleep deprived and it is effecting their ability to stay awake during the school day.

ParticipACTION (2016) quotes, “Kids aren’t moving enough to be tired, and they may also be too tired to move”. This alarming truth has urged Canada to develop the world’s first 24-Hour Movement Guidelines that highlight the inter-relationship between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep.

Kids ages 5-17 need 60 minutes of heart pumping activity daily and need to limit sedentary behavior each day to develop strong bones, strong muscles, strong hearts, alert minds, improved self-esteem and confidence, and to do better in school.

Sweat Step Sleep Sit PyramidThe 24-Hour Movement Guidelines provide a practical framework that Health and Physical Educators can use to increase awareness and change behaviors regarding inactivity in their schools and communities. The 4 components of the framework for children and youth ages 5-17 include:

  • Sweat – 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-physical activity
  • Step – serveral hours of structured- and unstructured-light physical activity such as active transportation, like waking to and from school
  • Sleep – uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep for 9-13 year olds and 8 to 10 hours of sleep for 14-17 year olds
  • Sit – no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time, limiting sitting for extended periods of time

To support this “movement” in our HPE classes, classrooms, and whole school communities, here are some strategies to try…

  1. Ensuring all students are in their target heart rate zone (moderate to vigorous intensity) for large portions of our HPE classes through the use of small-sided games, movement circuits and fun activity challenges. Check out these resources to get your students more active:
  2. Use pedometers and/or heart rate monitors to help students self-monitor their level of intensity and effort in a HPE class and throughout their day. Check out this success story, provided by Thompson Education Publishing, of how two HPE teachers use heart rate monitors to help students monitor their heart rates to make sure they are “in the zone” for 20 minutes or more. Check out these great pedometer and heart-rate monitor options from Gopher.
  3. Have students chart their movement over a period of a few days using the framework of SWEAT, STEP, SLEEP, SIT, to self-actualize their behaviors and set goals to icnrease their physical fitness, increase uninterrupted sleep and decrease sedentary behavior. Extend this to math and numeracy for younger students as they represent their data in varios graph forms. Students can create public service announcements to encourage their school community to “move more and sit less”.
  4. Brain Breaks/Fitness Buddies and Movement Breaks to help self-regulate their movement and readiness to learn. Read these two stories about how a kindergarten teacher and grade 7 classroom teacher increase opportunities for their students to move throughout the day.

Finally, check out this amazing story about how a grade 4 student, Marian, took it upon herself to lead a fitness club for grades 1 and 2 during recess!

Share your success stories or ways that the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines helped you that can inspire others to get moving!

About the Author:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Resources


5 Ways Small Sided Games Make a BIG Impact

Author: Jessica Shawley

A Brand New Tool for PE You Didn’t Know You Needed!

Author: Brett Fuller

5 Skill-Based Floor Hockey Games

Author: Michael Beringer

16 Parachute Team Building Activities

Author: Tim Mueller

Motivating Unmotivated Students​

Author: Dr. Robert Pangrazi, Jessica Shawley, and Tim Mueller

Promoting Activity and Success Through Adapted PE

Author: Dr. Robert Pangrazi, Marci Pope and Maria Corte

Bin Ball

Author: Randy Spring



Sign up to receive the latest physical education resources, activities, and more from educational professionals like you straight to your inbox!