Physical Activity Guidelines

What are the current physical activity guidelines for adults?

Adults should do a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week by doing activities like brisk walking, ballroom dancing, or general gardening.

Adults can choose 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity by doing exercise like jogging, aerobic dancing, and jumping rope.

Adults also may choose combinations of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably spread throughout the week. For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 5 hours (300 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity or 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.

Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week to achieve the unique benefits of strengthening activities.

 

What are the current physical activity guidelines for children and adolescents?

Children and adolescents aged 6–17 years should accumulate 1 hour or more of physical activity daily. The 1 hour of activity should be mostly aerobic but should also include muscle- strengthening and bone-strengthening activities. Youth should include vigorous-intensity activity in this 1 hour on at least 3 days a week. They should also do muscle-strengthening activities on at least 3 days and bone-strengthening activities on at least 3 days a week. It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, enjoyable, and offer variety. The Guidelines list a number of examples of each type of activity for children and adolescents.

Is physical activity recommended for persons with disabilities?

Children, adolescents, adults, and older adults with disabilities should meet the Guidelines when possible and should avoid inactivity because physical activity offers many health benefits. When persons with disabilities are not able to meet the Guidelines, they should be as active as possible and avoid being inactive. Persons with disabilities should work with their health care provider to understand the types and amounts of physical activity appropriate for them.

 

Are the physical activity guidelines different for older adults?

Many healthy and fit older adults can follow the guidelines for adults. Some adults who are unfit or who have activity-limiting chronic conditions may need to follow the guidelines for older adults.

Most of the guidelines are the same for adults and older adults, but some additional guidelines are just for older adults. These are:

When older adults cannot do 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

Older adults should do exercises that maintain or improve balance if they are at risk for falling.

Older adults should use relative intensity to determine their level of effort for physical activity.

Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.