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General health benefits of physical activity throughout life

By 31st August 2017July 16th, 2019The ARC Resources

Advice and recommendations for tackling dementia, obesity and giving every child the best start in life.

Everybody active, every day – an evidence-based approach to physical activity.

Public Health England (PHE) are aiming to drive a step change in the public’s health and have identified seven priorities to tackle the behaviour that increases the risk of poor mental and physical health.

10 minutes brisk walking each day in mid-life for health benefits and towards achieving physical activity recommendations

International evidence and the UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines highlight the frequency and type of physical activity required to achieve general health benefits, including 150 minutes physical activity of at least moderate intensity each week.

Central to this evidence is the message that 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on at least 5 days a week (or 150 minutes over a week) helps to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions. Guidelines also call for activities that increase muscle strength on two or more days per week and breaking up extended periods of sitting.

Almost one in four (22.4%) of the English population are defined as ‘inactive’ by virtue of doing less than 30 minutes of activity per week and have the highest risk of ill health due to insufficient physical activity. For some of these individuals 150 minutes may seem an unrealistic aim. There is a recognition that benefits may be accrued from lower levels of activity, both in terms of improving health and also by moving people from inactivity to low activity (ie 30-149 minutes per week) and to help move them towards achieving 150 minutes.

UK physical activity guidelines

UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines on how much physical activity people should be doing for

  • Early years
  • Children and young people
  • Adults
  • Older adults

These scientifically informed guidelines are aimed at helping practitioners as well as individuals themselves to understand how to reduce the risk of ill health associated with inactivity and sedentary behaviours.

NICE Guidance – physical activity: brief advice for adults in primary care

This guideline covers providing brief advice on physical activity to adults in primary care. It aims to improve health and wellbeing by raising awareness of the importance of physical activity and encouraging people to increase or maintain their activity level.

Related Documents

We’ve identified publicly available resources that we thought you might find useful.

Download The PHE – Everybody active, every day

An evidence based approach to physical activity.

Download The PHE – 10 minutes brisk walk each day

Achieving physical activity recommendations.

Download Activity guides

Activity guides for under 5’s, 5-18, 19-64 and 65+.

Download NICE guidelines – Physical activity

Brief advice for adults in primary care.