Physical Activity Guidelines

Adopted from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition, by the Department of Health & Human Services, USA.

Key Guidelines for Preschool-Aged Children

 

  • Preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development.

     

  • Adult caregivers of preschool-aged children should encourage active play that includes a variety of activity types.

 

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Key Guidelines for Adults

 

  • Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.

     

  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.

     

  • Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.

  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
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Key Guidelines for School-Aged Children and Adolescents 

  • It is important to provide young people opportunities and encouragement to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.

  • Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily:
    • Aerobic: Most of the 60 minutes or more per day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
       
    • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.

       

    • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity,children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.

 

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Key Guidelines for Older Adults

 

These guidelines are the same for adults and older adults

  • Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.
     
  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.

     

  • Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.

     

  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

     

Guidelines just for older adults:

  • As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multi-component physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
  • Older adults should determine their level of effort for physical activity relative to their level of fitness.
  • Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.
  • When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.