Have you ever wondered how much exercise you should be doing each week?

Well, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently released new physical activity guidelines, addressing exactly how much exercise we need as a minimum each week. These were updated following their previous recommendations made in 2010.

Unsurprisingly, the main message is that some movement is better than none. 

The new guidelines address children, adolescents, adults, older adults and include new specific recommendations for pregnant and postpartum women and people living with chronic conditions or disability.

Let’s break it down:

Adults 18-64:

  • 50–300 min of moderate-intensity, or 75–150 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity, mixing aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity.

Adults above 64:

  • Complete multicomponent physical activity at moderate or greater intensity on 3 or more days a week.
  • Combination of strength and balance training to assist with 1) falls; 2) fall-related injuries; 3) physical function; 4) frailty and 5) osteoporosis.

Children and adolescents:

  • An average of 60 min/day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity across the week will provide health benefits.

Pregnant and postpartum:

  • There is high-certainty evidence that regular physical activity during pregnancy is associated with reduced gestational weight gain and reduced risk of gestational diabetes mellitus in pregnant women with overweight or obesity.
  • Both aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity is important and beneficial to both the mother and baby.

People with chronic health conditions:

  • Regular aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity can improve quality of life, long-term health and reduce mortality rates.
  • Aim to move a little each day.

People living with disability:

  • Physical activity is safe and beneficial for those without contra-indications.
  • Adults living with disability may need to consult a healthcare professional or other physical activity and disability specialist to help determine the type and amount of activity appropriate for them.


As you can see, exercise is recommended for everybody where there are no contra-indications.

Even small, 5 minute bouts have the potential to improve health outcomes.

Regardless of who you are, WHO has a few core principles in mind:

  • Everyone can benefit from being more active than sedentary.
  • Doing some physical activity, no matter what it is, is better than doing none.
  • You can start small and slow and increase your frequency, intensity and duration over time.
  • You can strengthen your muscles at home or in the gym (when safe).
  • Physical activity is good for our hearts, bodies and minds

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