New advice as to
how people of all ages can maintain fitness levels and stay or get
healthy, was launched today as part of the first UK-wide physical
activity guidelines by the four nations’ Chief Medical Officers.
A key new element is a more flexible approach for adults to get
their 150 minutes of activity a week.
The guidelines build on previous advice but reflect the growing
body of knowledge about physical activity levels and links to
reducing the risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke
Key new elements are:
recommendations for weekly physical activity being more flexible
for busy lives. Adults can get their 150 minutes of activity a
week in sessions of ten minutes or more and should aim to be
active every day. 30 minutes five times a week is just one way
this can be achieved;
more emphasis on vigorous activity and muscle strengthening
through, for example heavy gardening, group sports such as
volleyball and basketball or swimming. There is good evidence this
stimulates bone formation and maintains muscle mass;
advice tailored to every age group including – for the first
time – guidance for parents for under-fives; and
reducing and minimising periods of sedentary behaviour.
The guidance has a renewed focus on being active everyday and
spells out the recommended minimum levels of activity for each age group:
180 minutes – three hours – each day, once a child is able to
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.
England ’s Chief Medical
Officer Sally Davies said:
“Being active has enormous health and well being benefits. It
protects against many of the biggest causes of early death like
heart disease, and stroke, and can promote good mental health.
“The latest figures show that almost a quarter of adults are
obese and on current trends by 2050 it means 9 in 10 adults will
be overweight or obese. We know that more than 60 per cent of
adults are not active enough which is why today the UK Chief
Medical Officers are launching the first UK-wide guidelines that
draw on the latest science to inform weekly levels of physical
activity - whatever your age.
“But it’s not just about health. Cycling and walking more can
save on transport costs, reduce congestion and pollution.”
Robin Gargrave, Director of Innovation and
Development at Central YMCA said:
"In terms of health benefits, we know that the duration,
intensity and type of physical activity for a young person is very
different to that required for an older adult. Most people know
they can improve their health by being more active, but face
barriers, which prevent them from doing so.
“This advice addresses these barriers by recognising the
limitations of a ‘one size fits all’ approach to physical activity
- it speaks directly to people at different stages of their lives
and is flexible in its approach. For providers such as Central
YMCA, this advice will enable us to develop and target physical
activity interventions more effectively."
Maura Gillespie, Head of Policy and Advocacy at
the British Heart Foundation said:
“Being active, whatever your age is crucial for looking after
your heart. But we’re particularly pleased that the guidelines
focus on under-fives and recognise the benefits of more vigorous
activity for older children and adults.
“Our childhood and teenage years are where we develop habits and
lifestyles that generally continue throughout our adult life. So
it’s vital that parents introduce children to fun and physically
active pastimes to help prevent them becoming obese children, who
are likely to become obese adults at risk of heart disease,
diabetes and some cancers.”
Chief Executive Jennie Price said:
"Sport is a fun, inclusive and cost-effective way of
improving the health of the nation. We therefore welcome the Chief
Medical Officers' new guidelines, as well as the
recognition of the added benefits of vigorous intensity activity.
"With the added flexibility these guidelines provide,
and the growing number of social and informal sporting activities
on offer, this is an exciting opportunity for us and our partners
to encourage more people to improve their health through playing
and enjoying sport."
Notes to Editors
1. For further information contact the Department of Health press
office on 020 7210 5221
2. A copy of the report can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_127931
Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221