Physical activity

Download the Tip Sheet (PDF)
Prepare a 10-minute AMA Youth Run Club School Health Advocacy Talk on “Physical Activity: It's Good For You” based on the suggested talking points, below:

1. How much physical activity should you get every day to be healthy?

Ask the kids to think about how they would fit 60 minutes of “heart-pumping activity” into their day, i.e. is there something else they’re doing that they could stop, or do less of (like screen time), to allow for more physical activity?

  • The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP)’s 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth recommends “an accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities.”
  • Vigorous physical activities and bone-strengthening activities should be incorporated at least three days per week.
  • It doesn’t have to be done all at once! Aside from the required 30 minutes of vigorous activity, the remaining 30 minutes can be done in 10- to 15-minute increments of daily activity (Refer to page 7 of Ever Active School’s Runner’s Handbook for an example.)
  • Research says “only 24% of five- to 17-year-olds (come) under the recommended daily maximum of two hours of recreational screen time.”(source: 2016 ParticipAction Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth). Ask the kids: What activity would you choose to participate in, to replace one hour of screen time? When would you do that?

2. Why physical activity, such as running, is good for you and keeps you healthy:

  • Your body is built to move. All its parts are made to do hard work: pulling, pushing, lifting, jumping, running, bending and stretching.
  • Your heart, lungs and brain all like it when you’re active; it keeps them strong.
  • Your muscles like being active, too. The more you use them, the stronger they become.

Questions for the kids:

  • How many muscles does your body have? (Short answer is: Over 600! In addition to the muscles identified in the diagram below, there are 642 skeletal muscles!)
  • Do you know what your muscles do, i.e. how they help your body move? (For example, point to your biceps or triceps and ask the kids to tell you what those muscles do.)

3. There are a lot of benefits to being active. Do you know what some of those benefits are?

Talk Support Tips

  • Bring a stethoscope. Ask for two volunteers. Instruct one on how to listen to the other child’s heart rate (standing still) and ask them to count the heart beats out loud (= child’s resting rate). Then, have the child run on the spot and have the ‘doctor’ child listen again, and count the faster beats out loud (= child’s active rate).
  • If you’ve ever been involved with the Youth Run Club spring and fall launches, you know that there’s nothing like some good, loud, pulsing ♫dance tunes♪♫ to put the wriggle (and bounce and jump and run!) in the kids’ steps. So take your “boom box,” loaded up with catchy, current dance music, and have the kids check their pre- and post-bust-a-move pulse rates.
  • If kids are older (12-17 years old), show them how to find their pulse and have them check it while they’re resting and after they’ve run (or danced) on the spot (for 30-60 seconds).
  • Contact Jodi-Ann Sadler, AMA Professional Affairs (780-482-0305 | 1.800.272.9680, ext. 5305) to obtain a small give-away item to distribute to the students, post-talk.


CPS – Information (printable web pages) for parents:

HELPFUL HINT: Talk to the run club coach before selecting your topic; for coach contact information, contact Hayley Degaust, Provincial Projects Coordinator, Ever Active Schools ( | 780.454.4745)

Used with permission of









The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.