Skip to main content

New WHO recommendations on physical activity

Published by
December 17, 2020

For the first time in 10 years, the WHO has updated its guidelines for children and adults' exercise habits

Based on a rapidly growing body of research on the importance of physical activity and sedentary behavior, old recommendations have been adjusted and new ones added.

People of all ages need to compensate for the increase in sedentary behavior

There is now new evidence that sedentary time is harmful to health and it is recommended to limit the amount of time spent sitting still for long hours. If sedentary time cannot be avoided, increase moderate to vigorous physical activity.

The recommendations conclude - for all target groups - that any kind of movement counts positively - including everyday movement such as walking, cycling, gardening and cleaning. A little movement is always better than no movement at all. But it is important to adapt the load to your level and build up gradually.

General recommendations for citizens with chronic disease

It is particularly interesting that general recommendations are now given for a number of specific target groups - including citizens with chronic illnesses.

Thus, physical activity has been shown to improve the health of people with ischemic heart disease.

For type II diabetes, there is strong evidence among adults that physical activity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. For hypertension, there is strong evidence that physical activity can reduce blood pressure and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The recommendations are at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or at least 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. Strength training for all major muscle groups should be included at least twice a week, and 3 times a week there should be types of exercise involving balance training. For all patients, of course, there should be no contraindications to exercise due to illness or functional impairment.

See the new guidelines here

Reference Heart Foundation.