New physical activity guidelines issued by CMO: “any exercise is good”
Posted: Sat, 07 Sep 2019 10:36
New guidance issued by the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) has emphasised the importance of exercise by stating that any physical activity, no matter how little, is beneficial to health.
The new guidelines are an update to those released in 2011, which suggested that physical activity needed to last at least 10 minutes to bring benefits.
Under the new guidelines, adults are advised to undertake strength-based exercise at least twice a week. This can help delay the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density that starts from around age 50. It is believed that this is a major reason why older people lose their ability to carry out daily tasks.
For the first time, the guidance also advises on safe levels of activity for pregnant women and new mothers, and the many benefits that this can bring.
New advice is also available to encourage good development in babies and children – which includes a recommendation for lots of 'tummy time' for the youngest children. For children under 5, the guidelines recommend as much active play as possible, while older children should be active for an average of 60 minutes a day across the week.
Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, said: "Physical activity is an under-appreciated asset in our clinical arsenal.
"It is cheap and brings a long list of health benefits.
"As we age, our muscles weaken and we can become stiff, leading to falls and difficulty performing everyday activities.
"Physical activity can prevent fragility and support mobility in old age. By keeping active, both throughout the day and also through hobbies, we can slow muscle and bone decline, ultimately keeping us independent for longer."