Healthy Schools: Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

Daily Physical Activity

Q. Does this mean that physical education classes are now only required to be 20 minutes in length?

A. No. Daily physical activity is not meant to replace health and physical education classes. However, p articipation in a physical education class that includes 20 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity would meet their daily requirement. On days where no physical education class is scheduled, the school should provide other opportunities for at least 20 minutes of physical activity during the instructional day.

Q. How might teachers and principals engage parents in the implementation of daily physical activity?

A. Daily physical activity provides new opportunities for parental engagement. School boards and principals should take appropriate actions to ensure that parents are kept informed of their children’s participation in daily physical activity. School boards and principals may also take the opportunity to share daily physical activity strategies with parents so they can instill the value of physical activity and support learning outcomes for all children and youth both at home and in the community.

Q. Do you feel that 20 minutes of Daily Physical Activity is adequate?

A. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines states that for health benefits, children and youth aged 5-17 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day. This should include: vigorous-intensity activities at least three days per week and activities that strengthen muscle and bones at least three days per week.

Along with cross-curricular activities, health and physical activity instruction, before and after school programs, community programs, minor sports and family activities, daily physical activity helps children and youth reach 60 minutes of physical activity per day.

Q. How does daily physical activity fit into the school day?

A. Allocating time for daily physical activity takes creative planning and coordination at the classroom, school and board levels. It will often be possible to integrate daily physical activity into physical education classes. Since physical activity is only one component of a comprehensive health and physical education program, there will be days when a health and physical education class does not include at least twenty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. On these days and on days when no health and physical education class is scheduled, other opportunities for accumulating at least twenty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity during the instructional day must be provided.