Keep physical, live longer
Physical activity can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and enhance thinking, learning, and overall well-being.

FOUR to five million deaths per year could be averted if the global population was more physically active.

These global guidelines enable countries to develop evidence-based national health policies and support the implementation of the WHO Global action plan on physical activity 2018-2030. Action and investment in policies to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour can help to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Good Health and Well-being (SDG3),

Every move counts

1. Physical activity is good for hearts, bodies and minds. Regular physical activity can prevent and help manage heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer which cause nearly three quarters of deaths worldwide. Physical activity can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and enhance thinking, learning, and overall well-being.

2. Any amount of physical activity is better than none, and more is better. For health and well-being, WHO recommends at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week (or the equivalent vigorous activity) for all adults, and an average of 60 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per day for children and adolescents.

3. All physical activity counts. Physical activity can be done as part of work, sport and leisure or transport (walking, wheeling and cycling), as well as every day and household tasks.

4. Muscle strengthening benefits everyone. Older adults (aged 65 years and older) should add physical activities which emphasise balance and coordination, as well as muscle strengthening, to help prevent falls and improve health.

5. Too much sedentary behaviour can be unhealthy. It can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Limiting sedentary time and being physically active is good for health.

6. Everyone can benefit from increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour, including pregnant and post-partum women and people living with chronic conditions or disability.

Noncommunicable disease

Regular physical activity is a key protective factor for the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and a number of cancers. Physical activity also

benefits mental health, including prevention of cognitive decline and symptoms of depression and anxiety; and

can contribute to the maintenance of healthy weight and general well-being. Global estimates indicate that 27.5 per cent of adults and 81 per cent of adolescents do not meet the 2010 WHO recommendations for physical activity, within the the past decade.

There are also notable inequalities: data show that in most countries girls and women are less active than boys and men, and that there are significant differences in levels of physical activity between higher and lower economic groups, and between countries and regions.

The WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour provide evidence-based public health recommendations for children, adolescents, adults and older adults on the amount of physical activity (frequency, intensity and duration) required to offer significant health benefits and mitigate health risks.

For the first time, recommendations are provided on the associations between sedentary behaviour and

health outcomes, as well as for sub-populations, such as pregnant and post-partum women, and people living with chronic conditions or disability.

Target audience

The guidelines are intended for policymakers in high-, middle-, and low-income countries in ministries of health, education, youth, sport and/or social or family welfare; government officials responsible for developing national, subregional or municipal plans to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour in population groups through guidance documents; people working in non-governmental organisations, the education sector, private sector, research; and health-care providers.


The public health recommendations presented in the WHO guidelines on physical activity andsedentary behaviour are for all populations and age groups ranging from five years to 65 years andolder, irrespective of gender, cultural background or socio-economic status, and are relevant for people of all abilities. Those with chronic medical conditions and/or disability, and pregnant and post-partum women should try to meet the recommendations where possible and as able.

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