World Health Organization (WHO) Exercise Recommendations

Estimated time to read 2 min (471 words) (disclaimer)

The Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) states that only 23.2 percent of adults meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity!

Regular exercise may be one of the most importing things we can do for ourselves to reduce the risk of various diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, osteoporosis, and depression.

Unfortunately, there are many weight loss programs that run ads stating that “you can lose weight without diet and exercise”. This is possible but it would be much healthier to have good eating habits and exercise for improved health. When this happens we are more likely to lose weight in a safe way that may be more sustainable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists the amount of exercise we should have on a regular basis here, which depends on age and various other health factors. An assessment from a physician is a great place to begin. For example the typical adult aged 18-64 should do the following:

should do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity;  or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week
should also do muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits
may increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to more than 300 minutes; or do more than 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week for additional health benefits
should limit the amount of time spent being sedentary. Replacing sedentary time with physical activity of any intensity (including light intensity) provides health benefits
to help reduce the detrimental effects of high levels of sedentary behavior on health, all adults and older adults should aim to do more than the recommended levels of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity.

WHO exercise guidelines

Beginning an exercise program can be challenging because it can be difficult to know where to begin. Most successful exercises programs involves things we enjoy doing, which may be a great starting point. Starting an exercises program can begin with brisk walks, riding a bike, hiking, bowling, golfing, and etc.

There is also a 4 percent rule which indicates to progress exercises approximately 4 percent at a time to prevent overuse and injury. What it really means is to take it slow so we don’t over do it. Seeking professional help from a physician, physical therapist, nutritionist, coach, and trainer is also a great idea.

It can be tough to begin an exercise program but thinking about our overall health, finding something fun, and having a partner or group can help. Good luck!


CDC: exercise and physical activity fast stats

WHO: exercise recommendations


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