Is it normal to be physically active?

In 2011, the four Chief Medical Officers (CMO) of the UK jointly issued recommendations for the levels of physical activity of our population.

They stated that:

  • Children of pre-school age (under 5 years old), who are capable of walking unaided, should be active for at least 180 minutes spread throughout the day
  • Children and young people aged 5-18 should be active at a moderate to vigorous intensity for at least 60 minutes or more a day
  • Adults aged 19-64 should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more
  • Older adults aged 65 and over should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more

Achieving the CMO’s guidelines can bring about major health benefits.  Even relatively small increases in physical activity are associated with some protection against chronic diseases and may improve quality of life.

In 2010, approximately 47% of adults were inactive, i.e. doing less than 30 minutes of activity a week.  There is a need to increase levels of physical activity across the whole population, and especially for those who lead sedentary lifestyles.

Being active is about moving more in any way which fits into our lives.  From walking and cycling as part of everyday life, to exercising in a gym, playing sports, or just tidying up the garden. Even small changes can make a difference.

Read more about CMO guidelines in Start Active, Stay Active.

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