WHO Recommendations on Physical Activity For Health

World Health Organization (WHO), developed the "Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health" with the overall aim of providing national and regional level policy makers with guidance on the dose-response relationship between the frequency, duration, intensity, type and total amount of physical activity needed for all age groups.  

Recommended levels of physical activity for children aged 5 - 17 years

For children and young people, physical activity includes play, games, sports, transportation, chores, recreation, physical education, or planned exercise, in the context of family, school, and community activities.
In order to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone health, and cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers:
  • Children and youth aged 5–17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
  • Amounts of physical activity greater than 60 minutes provide additional health benefits.
  • Most of the daily physical activity should be aerobic. Vigorous-intensity activities should be incorporated, including those that strengthen muscle and bone*, at least 3 times per week.
The scientific evidence available for the age group 5–17 years supports the overall conclusion that physical activity provides fundamental health benefits for children and youth. Appropriate levels of physical activity contribute to the development of:
• healthy musculoskeletal tissues (i.e. bones, muscles and joints);
• healthy cardiovascular system (i.e. heart and lungs);
• neuromuscular awareness (i.e. coordination and movement control); and
• It also facilitates maintenance of a healthy body weight.
Moreover, physical activity has been associated with psychological benefits in young people by: improving their control over symptomps of anxiety and depression; and assisting in social development by providing opportunities for self-expression,building self-confidence, social interaction and integration.
Recommended levels of physical activity for adults aged 18 - 64 years
In adults aged 18–64, physical activity includes leisure time physical activity (for example: walking, dancing, gardening, hiking, swimming), transportation (e.g. walking or cycling), occupational (i.e. work), household chores, play, games, sports or planned exercise, in the context of daily, family, and community activities. In order to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone health, reduce the risk of NCDs and depression:
  • Adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
  • For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
Recommended levels of physical activity for adults aged 65 and above
In adults aged 65 years and above, physical activity includes leisure time physical activity (for example: walking, dancing, gardening, hiking, swimming), transportation (e.g. walking or cycling), occupational (if the individual is still engaged in work), household chores, play, games, sports or planned exercise, in the context of daily, family, and community activities.
In order to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and functional health, reduce the risk of NCDs, depression and cognitive decline:
  • Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
  • For additional health benefits, older adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate-and vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Older adults, with poor mobility, should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups, should be done on 2 or more days a week.
  • When older adults cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activity due to health conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

Physical activity for all

These recommendations are relevant to all healthy adults aged 18–64 years unless specific medical conditions indicate to the contrary. They are applicable for all adults irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or income level. They also apply to individuals in this age range with chronic noncommunicable conditions not related to mobility such as hypertension or diabetes.
These recommendations can be valid for adults with disabilities. However adjustments for each individual based on their exercise capacity and specific health risks or limitations may be needed.
There are multiple ways of accumulating the total of 150 minutes per week. The concept of accumulation refers to meeting the goal of 150 minutes per week by performing activities in multiple shorter bouts, of at least 10 minutes each, spread throughout the week then adding together the time spent during each of these bouts: e.g. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times per week.
Pregnant, postpartum women and persons with cardiac events may need to take extra precautions and seek medical advice before striving to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity for this age group.
Inactive adults or adults with disease limitations will have added health benefits if moving from the category of “no activity” to “some levels” of activity. Adults who currently do not meet the recommendations for physical activity should aim to increase duration, frequency and finally intensity as a target to achieving them.

Welcome to FSN, A core group of IAPEN

The Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (IAPEN) is an organization in the field of parenteral and enteral nutrition and promote...