UK Exercise Guidelines

Exercise Guidelines in the UK

The four UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed and published Exercise Guidelines for the whole of the UK. The guidelines cover different age groups such as children and young people; adults; and older adults. This is the first time UK the UK have collaborated so is quite a landmark achievement. The guidelines suggest that exercise needs encouraging everywhere. Because the latest evidence shows there is a clear link between the lack of physical activity and chronic disease. 

The new guidelines offer more ways of achieving the an adequate level of fitness. The guidance renews focus on being active everyday and the suggested minimum levels of activity for each age group:

  • Under-fives: 180 minutes – three hours – each day, once a child is able to walk.

  • Children and young people (5-18 year old): 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.

  • Adults (19-64 years old) and older people (65+): 150 mins – two and half hours – each week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (and adults should aim to do some physical activity every day). Include muscle strengthening activity twice a week.

Keeping fit at work

For many types of work such as gardeners, construction and engineers, for example, keeping fit is not a problem.  But the increase in sitting down jobs such as office work and makes achieving the exercise targets is not easy. Remind workers to get up otherwise they might spend all day in one position. A whole industry of alarms and keystroke monitoring software is available to help remind office workers to take regular and frequent breaks as specified in the Display Screen Regulations.

Keeping arms and legs in static positions can increase the chances of musculoskeletal disorders (pains in arms and wrists), and by not following the exercise guidelines the chances are that obesity could result and associated health problems e.g., diabetes or heart disease.

Wellbeing and health promotion initiatives in the workplace can help educate and remind workers of the dangers of not doing enough exercise. Many companies offer reduced gym membership and provide showers, some store bicycles and helmets.

Also consider our ageing workforce and long-term absence and consider how best to care for and instruct workers, you can occupational health to focus their campaigns on this.

Further Advice and Reading

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