All You Need to know about WHO’s Physical Activity Guidelines

Written by Marshall Thurlow | February 17, 2021


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently released a set of guidelines for both the general public and health professionals to take note of, in order to promote healthy exercise practices.

As more and more people are working from computers and limiting their movement by sitting at a desk all day, the WHO’s new guidelines come as a timely reminder that regular exercise is beneficial to your health, and can help prevent chronic diseases and pains such as back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain. Below is a rundown of the WHO’s physical guidelines to help you stay on track with your health as well.

Exercise for children (5 to 17 years)

According to the WHO, children aged between five years and 17 years should be performing a minimum of an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activities. Children should also limit their screen time in an effort to encourage more physical activity.

Exercise for adults (18 to 64 years)

The WHO recommends that adults perform moderate-intensity aerobic activity for 150 to 300 minutes per week to maintain a healthy body. Alternatively, adults can also choose to perform vigorous levels of aerobic activity for 75 minutes a week instead. A combination of both of these intensities is also possible. 

In addition to aerobic activity, adults should also take the time to engage in strengthening physical activities – at a minimum of two days a week. Strengthening exercises could include things like stretching, yoga, etc. These should be performed for the sake of maintaining the health of major muscle groups.

Exercise for adults (65 years plus)

Similar to adults aged between 18 and 64 years, older adults should also perform 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week – with WHO suggesting most to increase the limit of 300 minutes as well. Older adults may also do more than 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, provided it is safe for their body to do so. 

For older adults, strengthening physical activity is also essential to maintaining high levels of long term health. However, before performing any, it is recommended that older adults visit a health practitioner such as a chiropractor first, to learn which exercises will be best for their body and will not cause their bodies to overwork.

Sedentary behaviour

When it comes to sedentary behaviour (such as sitting and watching TV for long periods of time), WHO recommends individuals and health professionals monitor their habits and make sure that they are performing enough physical exercise. In fact, the WHO lists sedentary behaviour as a separate risk factor for chronic diseases and all-cause mortality – due to the way in which they cause a lack of physical activity.

By highlighting the disadvantages of sedentary behaviour, as well as recommending optimal levels of exercise for adults and children in their new guideline, WHO hopes to help individuals become more aware of their levels of exercise (whether it is appropriate or not). The WHO guidelines also encourage health professionals to advise their patients of what is written.

February 17, 2021 | 659 Views

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