GCU researchers are behind world’s first 24-hour movement guidelines launched in Canada

Research carried out by GCU’s world-renowned exercise experts has helped form the first international 24-hour movement guidelines for adults which have just been launched in Canada.

Professor of Health Behaviour Dynamics Sebastien Chastin was on an expert panel that came up with the guidelines showing how much time you should spend sitting, exercising and sleeping, and devising the best cocktail of time to maximise health.

He is one of a team of scientists in GCU’s Ageing Well research group who are world leaders in analysing evidence about 24-hour movement and their work has formed the basis for the new guidelines launched in Canada on October 15, which focus on making the whole day matter.

Professor Chastin, from the Physiotherapy Department, explained: “These are the first international guidelines that take into account all together the amount of time we should spend sitting, exercising and sleeping. This shows the best possible cocktail of time to maximise health.

“I was on the expert panel that put these guidelines together and GCU is leading in analysing evidence about 24-hour movement in health, in particular, we have unlocked new analytical ways of looking at the data to extract the evidence that takes into account the fact that time is limited in 24-hours so if you spend more time sleeping then you will be exercising less.

“A lot of the evidence that formed these guidelines rests on methods developed at GCU. Canada is the first country in the world to adopt these 24-hour movement guidelines for adults.

“In the UK we have similar guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour – the difference is that the Canadians have put a number on sedentary behaviour and recommending spending less than seven hours a day and also including the fact that it all works together.

“That’s not something the governments in the UK are doing at the moment but I  can guarantee that in five to ten years’ time they will have 24-hour guidelines. Canada is ahead of the game in that respect.”

Canada’s first ever 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults offer clear direction on what a healthy 24-hours looks like for adults aged 18-64 years and the over 65s.

The guidelines focus on three core recommendations – the first being move more by adding movement throughout the day, including a variety of types and intensities of physical activity.

The second is to reduce sedentary time to eight hours or less per day including no more than three hours of screen time and breaking up long periods of sitting where possible.

The third is sleep well with seven to nine hours of good quality sleep on a regular basis recommended for those aged 18 to 64, and between seven and eight hours for over 65s. It says consistent bed and wake up times are also key to a healthy life.

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