New physical activity guidelines have been published by the four UK Chief Medical Officers, covering early years; children and young people; adults; and older adults.
This is the first time UK-wide physical activity guidelines have been produced and represents the first time guidelines have been produced in the UK for early years (under fives) as well as sedentary behaviour, for which there is now evidence that this is an independent risk factor for ill health.
Physical activity should be encouraged across the population, with the latest evidence showing there is a clear link between physical activity and chronic disease. The new guidelines offer more flexibility for achieving the recommended levels of physical activity.
The guidance has a renewed focus on being active everyday and spells out the recommended minimum levels of activity for each age group:
- Under-fives: 180 minutes – three hours – each day, once a child is able to walk.
- Children and young people (5-18 year olds): 60 minutes and up to several hours every day of moderate to vigourous intensity physical activity. Three days a week should include vigourous intensity activities that strengthen muscle and bone.
- Adults (19-64 years old) and older people (65+): 150mins – two and half hours – each week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (and adults should aim to do some physical activity every day). Muscle strengthening activity should also be included twice a week.