Global recommendations on physical activity for health

The World Health Organization published in 2010 the Global Recommendations on physical activity for health. They are a useful tool for the implementation of policies aimed at promoting physical activity.

5-17 years

Types of activity

Games, sports, travel, recreational activities, physical education or programmed exercises, in the context of family, school or community activities.

  1. You should accumulate a minimum of 60 minutes a day of moderate or vigorous physical activity.
  2. Physical activity for more than 60 minutes a day will report an even greater health benefit
  3. Daily physical activity should be, for the most part, aerobic. It will be advisable to incorporate, at least three times a week, vigorous activities that reinforce, in particular, muscles and bones.

18-64 years

Types of activity

Recreational or leisure activities, commuting (for example, walking or cycling), occupational activities (i.e. work), homework, games, sports or exercises scheduled in the context of daily, family and community activities.

  1. You should accumulate a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity each week, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.
  2. The aerobic activity will be practiced in sessions of 10 minutes of duration, as a minimum.
  3. In order to obtain even greater health benefits, it is recommended to increase up to 300 minutes per week the practice of moderate physical physical activity, or up to 150 minutes per week of intense physical physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
  4. Twice or more per week, do activities to strengthen the large muscle groups.

+65 years

Types of activity

Recreational or leisure activities, commuting (for example, walking or cycling), occupational activities (when the person is still working), household chores, games, sports or exercises scheduled in the context of daily, family and community activities.

  1. Spend 150 minutes a week to perform moderate physical physical activities, or some kind of vigorous physical physical activity for 75 minutes, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.
  2. The activity will be practiced in 10-minute sessions, at a minimum.
  3. In order to obtain greater health benefits, adults of this age group should increase the practice of moderate physical physical activity up to 300 minutes per week, or accumulate 150 minutes per week of physical activity vigorous aerobics, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
  4. People with reduced mobility should perform physical activities to improve their balance and prevent falls, three days or more a week.
  5. It will be advisable to carry out activities that strengthen the main groups of two or more days a week.
  6. When older adults cannot perform the recommended physical activity due to their state of health, they will remain physically active as long as their condition permits.

In recent years numerous investigations have been published on the health benefits of physical activity. The health authorities, in our case the Department of Health of the Basque Government, offers us a compilation of the benefits with more evidence:

0-5 years

  • Improves growth and coordination.
  • It promotes self-confidence, self-esteem and mental health.
  • It favors sociability, social interaction and respect for others.
  • It helps you sleep better.
  • It helps to be happier.

6-17 years

  • It promotes the correct development of the musculoskeletal system.
  • It improves the cardiovascular system.
  • It allows to learn to control the neuromuscular system (coordination and control of movements).
  • It helps you sleep better.
  • It helps maintain a healthy body weight.
  • It promotes self-confidence, integration and social interaction.
  • It helps to have better school performance.
  • It favors sociability, social interaction and teamwork.

18-65 years

  • It helps to have a lower risk of death due to:
    • Coronary heart disease.
    • Hypertension.
    • Cerebrovascular accidents.
    • Type 2 diabetes.
    • Colon and breast cancer.
  • Avoid depression.
  • Reduces the risk of hip or spine fracture.
  • It helps improve the functioning of the cardiorespiratory and muscular systems.
  • It helps to maintain weight more easily, and have a better body mass and composition.

+65 years

  • It contributes to lower mortality rates due to:
    • Coronary heart disease.
    • Hypertension.
    • Cerebrovascular accidents.
    • Type 2 diabetes.
    • Colon and breast cancer.
  • Avoid depression.
  • It contributes to the better functioning of the cardiorespiratory and muscular system.
  • It helps maintain weight and body composition.
  • Improve the health of your bones.
  • Reduces the risk of falls.
  • It improves mental health.