World Health Organization 2020 guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has published new global guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour in a special issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, where they reaffirm that more physical activity is better for optimal health outcomes.

But for the first time, the new guidelines also state that all physical activity counts and is good for long term health. This recommendation reflects a large and growing body of evidence linking extensive sedentary time to serious ill health and a heightened risk of early death.

Everyone, irrespective of their age or abilities, should try to limit their daily sedentary time and replace it with physical activity of any intensity. This could be anything from climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift, a walk around the block, a spot of gardening, or some household chores, to going for a run or bike ride, a high-intensity interval training workout, or team sport.

The new guidelines highlight the importance of regularly undertaking both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and for the first time, make specific recommendations for important, but often neglected groups, including those who live with long term conditions or disabilities, pregnant women, and new mothers.