UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines

Older Adults (65 years and over)

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.

UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines

Despite the widely reported benefits of physical activity, most adults and many children across the UK are insufficiently active to meet the full set of recommendations. We want this report to act as a catalyst for a change in our attitudes to physical activity.

These guidelines present a UK-wide consensus on the amount and type of physical activity that is needed to benefit health across the life course. The guidelines have been updated using the best available evidence and reflect what we know now about the relationship between physical activity and health. The guidelines apply across the population, irrespective of gender, age or socio-economic status. We know there are clear health inequalities in relation to physical inactivity and therefore interventions to  promote physical activity must consider this.

We want as many people as possible to make use of these guidelines to work towards  and achieve the recommended activity levels. With that in mind, we have developed the updated infographics included in this report to help bring the guidelines to life and make them easy for everyone to use.

We hope these guidelines help all individuals to become more active. The good news is  that even small changes can make a big difference over time.

As we say in these guidelines: some is good, more is better.