Are you getting enough?!

The four Chief Medical Officers of Great Britain have recently published new guidelines on the amounts of physical activity that should be undertaken by the general population.


180 minutes – (three hours) – each day, once a child is able to walk.  For non-walkers physical activity should be encouraged from birth, particularly through floor-based play and water-based activities in safe environments.

What this means?

Children under the age of 5 who can walk should spend at least three hours of the day being active.  These three hours can be spread throughout the day in unstructured active play.  The amount of time spent sitting watching tv or in pushchairs/car seats should also be minimised.

Activities could include

  • Energetic play such as playing on a climbing frame
  • Running or chasing games
  • Walking to and from school, shops, friends
For children not yet walking “physical activity” refers to movement of any intensity and should be encouraged from birth.  Time spent in car seats, baby bouncers and walkers should all be limited as all limit free movement.
Activities could include
  • Tummy time
  • Baby swimming sessions
  • Floor based play (reaching and rolling for toys)

Children and young people (5-18 year olds)

60 minutes and up to several hours every day of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity. Three days a week should include vigorous intensity activities that strengthen muscle and bone.

What this means?

Children aged between 5 and 18 should be active at moderate intensity for at least one hour every day of the week.  Three days of the week this hour should be of vigorous intensity.  This is a minimum guideline.  Where possible children in this age range should be active for up to several hours spread throughout the day.

Moderate activities could include

  • Bike riding
  • Playground games
  • Gymnastics
Vigorous activities could include
  • Sports such as football or swimming
  • Fast running
  • Skipping

Adults (19-64 years old) and older people (65+)

150 minutes – (two and half hours) – each week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (and adults should aim to do some physical activity every day). Muscle strengthening activity should also be included twice a week.

What this means?

One of the easiest way of reaching this target is to do 30 minutes on five days of the week at moderate intensity.  This can be spread over the day, walking the dog 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening for example.

Activities could include

  • Brisk walking/jogging
  • Swimming
  • Team sports

Out of the five days, two should be spent improving muscle strength.

Older adults (65+) should also incorporate activities to improve balance and coordination on two days of the week.  This could be through regular yoga or tai chi sessions.

Individual physical and mental capabilities should be considered for all of the above groups.  If you struggle to meet these guidelines or would like further advice on being active please get in touch.

Published by Aimee Pearce

I help busy women to enjoy fitness so they feel stronger, physically & mentally. Qualified personal trainer.

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