Regular Physical Activity

Regular Physical Activity – WHO Guidelines And Recommendations

Updated on July 5, 2024

Do you know regular physical activity is important for physical and mental health and well-being? The World Health Organization has released its new guidelines and recommendations for people of all ages. This article and the video provide you with the key points to keep in mind while planning your exercise regimen.

Physical Activity – WHO Guidelines – Key points :

Physical Activity Benefits
Physical Activity WHO Recommendations
  1. Regular physical activity is beneficial to the heart, body and mind.
  2. All physical activity including household tasks, sports and work count.
  3. At least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week is recommended for adults and about 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per day is recommended for children and adolescents.
  4. Muscle-strengthening exercises improve balance and coordination.
  5. Older adults must make planned physical activities a part of their daily routine.
  6. A sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy.

Read 7 Excuses For Not Exercising

Importance of regular physical activity – WHO

The World Health Organization believes that up to 5 million deaths worldwide could be averted if people were more physically active in these pandemic times. When we are confined to our homes it is very important that we give importance to regular exercise and physical activity. Regular physical activity or exercise regime has been shown to prevent an array of disorders. This includes heart disease diabetes mellitus as well as certain types of cancers. It also helps with your mental health. It helps in preventing symptoms of anxiety and symptoms of depression. It also improves cognition. Your cognitive functions include your ability to reason and think. Hence physical activity and regular exercising are very important to maintain holistic well-being and health.

Read Manage Workplace Stress With Physical Exercises

Physical activity guidelines from WHO

The WHO has brought in certain recommendations and guidelines for people of all ages for physical activity. Let’s take a look at the recommended physical activity by the World Health Organization.

Now before we go on to what are the recommendations let’s understand what are the different types of physical activity. Well, there are basically four kinds of physical activity.

There are four types of physical activity

  1. Aerobic activity
  2. Muscle-strengthening activities
  3. Bone strengthening activities
  4. Stretching activities

Let’s take a detailed look at each of these activities

1. Aerobic activity

Aerobic physical activity
Aerobic physical activity

Aerobic activity includes running, walking, bicycling, dancing, jumping jacks etc. During these activities, your heart beats faster and you also breathe harder. Over the course of time with regular aerobic activity, your heart and lungs will become stronger.

Read If You Walk Every Day What Will Happen To Your Body?

2. Muscle-strengthening activity

Muscle strengthening activity
Muscle-strengthening physical activity

The second type of physical activity is muscle strengthening. These include push-ups, sit-ups, lifting weights, climbing stairs, digging in the garden and so on. These activities improve the strength, power and endurance of the muscles.

Read 6 Habits That You Need To Adopt To Stay Healthy

3. Bone strengthening activity

Bone strengthening activity
Bone strengthening activity

The third kind of activity is bone strengthening. it includes running, walking, jumping, rope, and lifting weights. These activities put weight on your feet, legs or arms so that your body is supported making your bones strong.

4. Stretching exercises

Stretching Exercises
Stretching Exercises

The fourth type of activity is stretching exercises. This includes touching your toes, side stretches and yoga exercises. These activities improve flexibility and improve your ability to move joints smoothly.

So that was about the different types of activities. Now there are also different levels of activity.

The different levels of physical activity

  1. Light intensity physical activities
  2. Moderate Intensity physical activities
  3. Vigorous-intensity physical activities

Let’s take a look at what comprises light to moderate levels of exercise and vigorous-intensity exercises. Light and moderate-intensity activities are our daily activities that do not require much effort.

1. Light-intensity physical activities

Light intensity activities include walking slowly, and light household work such as cooking or washing dishes. It also includes playing musical instruments and fishing sitting.

2. Moderate Intensity physical activities

Moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking and heavy cleanings such as mopping or washing windows and vacuuming. It also includes light bicycling, recreational badminton, yoga, double tennis and any occupation that requires long amounts of standing or walking. Now a person doing moderate-intensity exercise has a noticeable increase in heart rate and breathing simply put he or she can talk but cannot sing.

3. Vigorous-intensity physical activities

The third level of activity is vigorous-intensity activities. These activities include jogging, fast walking, fast cycling, mountain climbing, push-ups or competitive sports such as football soccer and so on. A person doing vigorous-intensity activities will notice that there is a marked increase in their heart rate and breathing. They may not be able to say a few words without stopping for a breath.

What are the World Health Organization recommended guidelines for physical activity?

The World Health Organization has given guidelines and recommendations for exercises among children, among adults, among older generation people, and among people who are disabled. Also, it is given recommendations for physical activity for pregnant women.

In this article and video, we are going to be exploring more about physical activities for children and adults, the recommended physical activity for adults and the recommended physical activity for older people.

Children and adults aged 5 to 17 years

Children physical activity
Children biking Image by Rhythm_In_Life from Pixabay

For children and adults aged 5 to 17 years at least 60 minutes, there is one hour of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity across the week. Three days a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities and also activities that strengthen bone and muscles is recommended. Limit the recreational screen time and engage in sports or play.

Adults 18 to 64 years

Double rider tricycle physical activity
Elderly couple on Double rider tricycle Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

All adults must compulsorily prefer regular physical activity of at least 150 to 300 minutes. That is approximately two and a half to five hours of moderate intensity. Aerobic physical activity must be performed throughout the week or at least 75 to 150 minutes, that is approximately one and a half to two. And a half-hour of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity must be performed throughout the week. Adults must also engage in muscle-strengthening activities at a moderate or higher intensity. That involves all the major muscle groups on two or more days a week and trying to replace sedentary activities with physical activities such as climbing stairs instead of using the lift.

Adults aged 65 and above

Physical activity recommendations for older adults aged 65 and above. In older adults, physical activity not only has health benefits but also helps in preventing falls and fall-related injuries. Older adults must do at least 150 to 300 minutes that’s two and a half to five hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week. Or they at least must do 75 to 150 minutes that is one and a half to two and a half hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.

Now older adults must also engage in muscle-strengthening activities of moderate intensity or more for at least two days a week. It is very important that older adults be as physically active as possible to maintain health and a good level of fitness.


Thank you so much for watching the video and reading the article. I hope that this article and video were helpful for you to understand that regular physical activity and incorporating an exercise regime into your daily routines are absolutely important for health and well-being. Stay active and stay healthy.

The other recommendations and guidelines for pregnant women, children below the age of five years, children with disabilities, adults with disabilities and for people with chronic disease conditions are available on the WHO website. You can click the link and also you can download the pdf which is available from the WHO website

List of physical activities based on their intensity levels.

WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour

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References: YouTube Rinta Rajan

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