“If you have a medical condition, are overweight,
are pregnant, over 40 years of age or have not exercised
regularly for a long time, see a health professional…”.1

Umbrella

What may the Physical Activity Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Active Living
  • Exercise
  • Fitness
  • Physical Activity

Physical Activity

What is physical activity?

DotS the definition of physical activity may vary. In Physical Activity: What Is Physical Activity? the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition is:

“WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work. Both moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health”.2

How Much

How much physical activity is recommended?

In Physical Activity: How Much Exercise Do You Need? the (United States) MedlinePlus elaborate on:

“The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get a total of 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous activity. You could also meet this recommendation with an equivalent amount of combined moderate and intense activity. Muscle strengthening, also called strength training, resistance training, or endurance exercise, should also be done 2 or more days a week. People age 65 or older should also do balance exercises”.3

In Physical Activity: How Much of Physical Activity Is Recommended? Adults Aged 18–64 Years the WHO recommends this and more:

Physical Activity

  • “Should do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity;
  • Or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week
  • Should also do muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits.
  • May increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to more than 300 minutes; or do more than 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week for additional health benefits…”.4

In Physical Activity: How Much of Physical Activity Is Recommended? the WHO also include recommendations for Adults Aged 65 Years and Above.

On page 56 in Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition: Chapter 4. Active Adults – Key Guidelines for Adults the (United States) Department of Health and Human Services include:

  • “For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week”.5

Moderate-Intensity

What are examples of moderate-intensity amounts of physical activity?

In Guide To Physical Activity the (United States) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute give Examples of Moderate-Intensity Amounts of Physical Activity for Common Chores and Sporting Activities.

Vigorous Intermittent Lifestyle Physical Activity

What is vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity?

DotS definition of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (VILPA) may vary. In Vigorous Intermittent Lifestyle Physical Activity and Cancer Incidence Among Nonexercising Adults: The UK Biobank Accelerometry Study – Introduction, published 27 July 2023, the authors’ definition is:

“Vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (VILPA) refers to brief and sporadic (eg, up to 1-2 minutes [min]) bouts of VPA during daily living, eg, bursts of very fast walking or stair climbing”.6

In Physical Activity: Build Physical Activity Into Your Regular Routine MedlinePlus explain:

“Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference over time.

  • At work, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking down the hall to talk with a co-worker instead of sending an email, or adding a 10- to 20-minute walk during lunch
  • When you are running errands, try parking at the far end of the parking lot or down the street. Even better, walk to the store or other nearby places
  • At home, do chores such as vacuuming, washing the car, gardening, raking leaves, or shoveling snow
  • If you ride the bus or other public transportation, get off 1 stop before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way”.7

Gym or Not

What if I am not a gym person?

If you are not a gym person the MedlinePlus explain:

“You do not need to join a gym to exercise. If you have not exercised or been active in a long time, start slowly to prevent injuries. Taking a brisk 10-minute walk twice a week is a good start.

Try joining a dance, yoga, or karate class if it appeals to you. You could also join a baseball or bowling team, or even a mall-walking group. The social aspects of these groups can be rewarding and motivating.

The most important thing is to do exercises that you can maintain and enjoy”.8

Health Benefits

Is there an association between health benefits and physical activity?

Yes. In Physical Activity: What Is Physical Activity? the WHO explain:

“Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers. It also helps prevent hypertension, maintain healthy body weight and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being”.9

Never Too Late To Start

Is it never too late to start physical activity?

Yes. In Physical Activity & Exercise the JH explain:

“It’s never too late to become more physically active. Beginning or resuming exercise at any age will benefit your health.

Activity for 30 minutes on most days of the week will provide you with sustainable health benefits. The importance of regular physical activity, types of activity and ways to get you more active are discussed”.10

Health Care Provider

What if I am going to start doing physical activity?

If you are going to start doing physical activity, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Physical Activity: Getting Started the MedlinePlus note:

Physical Activity“IMPORTANT NOTE: Talk with your health care provider before starting an exercise program if:

  • You have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or another long-term illness
  • You have obesity
  • You have not been very active lately
  • You get chest pains or shortness of breath when you are active”.11

In Fitness: In-Depth – Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity – The Bottom Line on Exercise the Mayo Clinic caution:

“Remember to check with a health care professional before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any concerns about your fitness or haven’t exercised for a long time. Also check with a health care professional if you have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis”.12

The JH also also caution:

“If you have a medical condition, are overweight, are pregnant, over 40 years of age or have not exercised regularly for a long time, see a health professional for medical advice before increasing your activity. They can refer you to an accredited exercise physiologist who can help you design an activity plan that is safe and helpful to your individual needs”.13

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics A-Z related to Physical Activity?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Physical Activity & Exercise: Starting An Exercise Program – Exercise Physiologists. Last Updated: 26 August 2023 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/physical-activity-exercise Accessed: 22 October 2023
  2. Physical Activity: What Is Physical Activity? 05 October 2022. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity Accessed: 22 October 2023
  3. Physical Activity: How Much Exercise Do You Need? Review Date: 27 April 2023. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 22 October 2023
  4. Physical Activity: How Much of Physical Activity Is Recommended? Adults Aged 18-64 Years. 05 October 2022. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity Accessed: 22 October 2023
  5. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition: Chapter 4. Active Adults – Key Guidelines for Adults. 2018:56. Department of Health and Human Services https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf#page=55 Accessed: 22 October 2023
  6. Stamatakis, E., Ahmadi, M. N., Friedenreich, C. M., et al. Vigorous Intermittent Lifestyle Physical Activity and Cancer Incidence Among Nonexercising Adults: The UK Biobank Accelerometry Study – Introduction. 27 July 2023 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2807734 Accessed: 22 October 2023
  7. Physical Activity: Build Physical Activity Into Your Regular Routine. Review Date: 27 April 2023. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 22 October 2023
  8. Physical Activity: Getting Started. Review Date: 27 April 2023. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 22 October 2023
  9. Physical Activity: What Is Physical Activity? 05 October 2022. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity Accessed: 22 October 2023
  10. Physical Activity & Exercise. Last Updated: 26 August 2023 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/physical-activity-exercise/ Accessed: 22 October 2023
  11. Physical Activity: Getting Started. Review Date: 27 May 2023. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 22 October 2023
  12. Fitness: In-Depth – Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity – The Bottom Line on Exercise. 26 August 2023. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389 Accessed: 22 October 2023
  13. Physical Activity & Exercise: Starting An Exercise Program – Exercise Physiologists. Last Updated: 26 August 2023 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/physical-activity-exercise/ Accessed: 22 October 2023
Topic Last Updated: 11 June 2024 – Topic Last Reviewed: 22 October 2023

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