UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines 2019

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This report presents an update to the 2011 physical activity guidelines issued by the four Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK CMOs draw upon global evidence to present guidelines for different age groups, covering the volume, duration, frequency and type of physical activity required across the life course to achieve health benefits.

In children and young people, regular physical activity is associated with improved learning and attainment, better mental health and cardiovascular fitness, also contributing to healthy weight status.

In adults, there is strong evidence to demonstrate the protective effect on physical activity on a range of many chronic conditions including coronary heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, mental health problems and social isolation.

Regular physical activity can deliver cost savings for the health and care system and has wider social benefits for individuals and communities. These include increased productivity in the workplace, and active travel can reduce congestion and reduce air pollution.

This report emphasises the importance of regular activity for people of all ages, and for the first time presents additional guidance on being active during pregnancy, and after giving birth, and for disabled adults.

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Key messages from the report:

  • birth - 5 years: Aim for at least 180 minutes per day
  • 5 - 18 years: Aim for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week
  • Adults: To keep muscles, bones and joints strong build strength on at least 2 days a week
  • Disabled Adults: Don't be still for too long - even a little movement is better than nothing
  • Pregnant Women: Throughout pregnancy aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week
  • Women after childbirth (birth - 12 months): Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week

You can read the full report here