UK Chief Medical Officers issue new guidance on Exercise, physical activity
UK Chief Medical Officers have issued guidance on the amount and type of physical activity people should be doing to improve their health. The guidelines emphasise the importance of building strength and balance for adults and include recommendations for pregnant women, new mothers and disabled people. It also focuses on cardiovascular exercise. The new guidelines are an update to those released in 2011, but the overall message remains the same: any activity is better than none, and more is better still.
Under the new guidelines, adults are advised to undertake strength-based exercise at least 2 days 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.
New evidence is drawn upon to provide updated guidelines across four age groups and for the first time additional guidance is provided for being active during pregnancy and after birth, and for disabled adults. The guidelines present thresholds for the achievement of optimal health benefits, recognising that benefits are achieved both above and below guideline levels.
The evidence base is clear; some physical activity is good, but more is better. The multitude of benefits can start to occur at even the lowest levels of activity, and therefore all individuals should be encouraged to do what they can.
New mothers should undertake a moderate amount of exercise to help them regain strength, ease back pain, and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, the UK’s four chief medical officers have advised.
The recommendation is included in updated physical activity guidelines, which include advice on safe levels of activity for pregnant and postpartum women. The guidelines update the existing 2011 physical activity guidance for all age groups, drawing on the latest evidence available.