Insight Blog - September, 2019

September, 2019

Posted: Tue, 24 Sep 2019 11:30 by Thomas Lawley

September Insight

September has been a quiet month here at Sports Partnership, as a result I only have one piece of insight to bring you. The recently published Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines.

UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines

UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) new Physical Activity Guidelines have been released, covering different age groups, detailing the volume, duration, frequency and type of physical activity required across the life course to achieve general health benefits. The guidelines present thresholds for the achievement of optimal health benefits at the recommended levels of physical activity in terms of strength, moderate and vigorous physical activity, and balance activities. The report replaces the 2011 version and draws upon global evidence to present guidelines for different age groups, covering volume, duration, frequency and type of physical activity required one's life to achieve health benefits.

Since 2011 the evidence supporting engaging in physical activity across every stage of life has become more compelling. In children, regular physical exercise is associated with improved learning and attainment, better mental health, cardiovascular fitness and healthy weight status. In adults, regular physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on chronic health conditions; coronary health disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, mental health conditions and social isolation. Additionally to all of this, regular physical activity can help deliver cost savings for health and care systems. In short, more physical activity results in greater health benefits.

The new report stress the importance of strength training above other forms of physical exercise. Especially as you age, where there is a natural decline in muscle mass and bone density – this usually occurs around 50 years of age. Strength training should be utilised to delay this natural decline for as long as possible. Maintaining strength has been shown to being a strong indicator of minimising falls in later life. Strength training alongside weight bearing exercises such as running are also encouraged in children and young people to maximise strengthening bones at an early age. Finally another key recommendation from the report in the removal of a minimum amount of physical activity required to achieve some health benefits. The key message is to be active in some capacity every day. Ideally hitting 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day. Despite the removal of a minimum amount of physical activity, these remain useful targets for inactive people who are starting their physical activity journey.

Please find below a summary of the recommendations for each age group;

Infants (less than 1 year):

  • Aim to be physically active several times every day in a variety of ways, including interactive floor based activity e.g. crawling.
  • For infants not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake (and other movements such as reaching and grasping, pushing and pulling themselves independently, or rolling over); more is better.

Toddlers (1-2 years):

  • Toddlers should spend at least 180 minutes (3 hours) per day in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including active and outdoor play, spread throughout the day; more is better.

Pre-schoolers (3-4 years):

  • Pre-schoolers should spend at least 180 minutes (3 hours) per day in a variety of physical activities spread throughout the day, including active and outdoor play. More is better; the 180 minutes should include at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity

Children and Young People (5-18 years)

  • Children and young people should engage in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week. This can include all forms of activity such as physical education, active travel, after-school activities, play and sports.
  • Children and young people should engage in a variety of types and intensities of physical activity across the week to develop movement skills, muscular fitness, and bone strength.
  • Children and young people should aim to minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary, and when physically possible should break up long periods of not moving with at least light physical activity.

Adults (19-64 years):

  • For good physical and mental health, adults should aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still.
  • Adults should do activities to develop or maintain strength in the major muscle groups. These could include heavy gardening, carrying heavy shopping, or resistance exercise. Muscle strengthening activities should be done on at least two days a week, but any strengthening activity is better than none.
  • Each week, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate intensity activity (such as brisk walking or cycling); or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running); or even shorter durations of very vigorous intensity activity (such as sprinting or stair climbing); or a combination of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous intensity activity.
  • Adults should aim to minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary, and when physically possible should break up long periods of inactivity with at least light physical activity.

Older adults (65 years+):

  • Older adults should participate in daily physical activity to gain health benefits, including maintenance of good physical and mental health, wellbeing, and social functioning. Some physical activity is better than none: even light activity brings some health benefits compared to being sedentary, while more daily physical activity provides greater health and social benefits.
  • Older adults should maintain or improve their physical function by undertaking activities aimed at improving or maintaining muscle strength, balance and flexibility on at least two days a week. These could be combined with sessions involving moderate aerobic activity or could be additional sessions aimed specifically at these components of fitness.
  • Each week older adults should aim to accumulate 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate intensity aerobic activity, building up gradually from current levels. Those who are already regularly active can achieve these benefits through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity, to achieve greater benefits. Weight-bearing activities which create an impact through the body help to maintain bone health.
  • Older adults should break up prolonged periods of being sedentary with light activity when physically possible, or at least with standing, as this has distinct health benefits for older people.

This provides a summary of the report that has been published. To read the full report please visit the link below.

2019 CMO report

Tags: Blog, Herefordshire, Insight, Medical guidelines, Physical Activity, September, Worcestershire

Tom Lawley

Tom Lawley

Project Officer (Information and Insight)

  • Insight
  • Data analysis
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Active Lives
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