From the Heart and Stroke Foundation

Type the words physical activity on any internet search engine these days and you'll come across thousands of pages of information. While the internet may be a great resource, it's important to make sure that the information is accurate and reliable. We've taken the guesswork out of your search by reviewing websites and finding the ones that may be helpful to you to keep you committed.

Health Canada's Guides to Physical Activity

Health Canada's healthy living main page on physical activity provides recommendations and tips on becoming and staying physically active for youth, adults and older adults. For teens, the guide provides a chart on how to increase physical activity day by day to help kids ease into being moderately to vigorously active. Children need 60 to 90 minutes of activity a day. Seniors are advised to include a variety of activities from flexibility and balancing exercises to moderate activities such as walking and swimming. Other program information includes Stairway to Health for companies to implement workplace health and The Vitality Program which helps Canadians understand the role of healthy eating and healthy self esteem to help stay committed to a regular physical activity program.

Map My Fitness

This website can help you train for walking, running, biking and triathalons by providing a map of your city – from Vancouver to St. John's. On this site, you can create a profile and a plan to track your physical activity. You can also calculate your calories, set goals and challenges, access a list of local races and events, as well as a link into a community of shared information and experiences.

ParticipAction

This popular social movement focused on getting Canadians active now has a website focused on inspiration and useful tools. Read about how fellow Canadians are making an effort to get up and move then share your own story. Check out the fun tips on how to get active on your own, with your friends, family and while at work.

Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute

This site offers practical tips on being active, but it's mostly about relevant ongoing research in physical activity. CFLRI monitor trends and makes recommendations to increase population levels of physical activity and improve the health of all Canadians. On this website you can find information about activity levels and health rankings by province and region in Canada.

My Heart&Stroke Healthy Weight Action Plan

This e-tool by the Heart and Stroke Foundation will not only help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, it also provides information on how to be physically active on a regular basis. The free, 12-week online program provides behaviour-changing tips as well as help you identify your obstacles to a healthy weight.

Calories in, calories out

Ever wondered about all those formulas that exercise machines use to figure out how many calories you are burning when being active, how many calories you need to burn to lose weight and how many calories you are probably consuming to maintain your current weight? This simple website uses some complicated formulas to figure it all out. Just fill in the required fields, press enter and scroll down to read your results. Pay close attention to the disclaimer on the web page, the formulas and information on the page are meant for healthy adults. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or children of any age, should not use this website's tools.

Honourable mentions

Heart&Stroke WalkAbout

This website run has walking routes and groups specific to Nova Scotia. But don't let its geographic location keep you from visiting because this site is filled will great articles, resources and information on walking.

Ontario Active 2010

This government website has a great get active section that gives users advice and inspiration about becoming active. The activity tools section is an excellent resource for healthy adults to learn about target heart rate and Body Mass Index. Ontario residents can find places to be active using the resource locator.

Walk BC

This Heart&Stroke and B.C. Recreation & Parks Association website provides resources and tools as well as networking and fund-raising opportunities for walk organizers, programmers and leaders.

To learn how to assess a website for its accuracy, read our guide to reliable information online.

Remember that, while the internet is a great place to start learning about your options, your healthcare provider is the best person to advise you on the right course of action for you.

Before starting any activity program, be sure to talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional.

This physical activity column was written by a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor and reviewed by a specialist in kinesiology.

Posted: January 2010

Heart and Stroke Foundation

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This article has been independently researched, written and reviewed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and is based on scientific evidence. The information is for reference and education only. This web article is not intended to be a substitute for a physician’‘s advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should consult your physician for specific information on personal health matters. The Heart and Stroke Foundation assumes no responsibility or liability arising from any error in, or omission of, information or from the use of any information or advice contained within this article.

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© - 2009. Reproduced with permission of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada