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How Much Physical Activity We Really Need

There is no doubt that physical activity is essential to improve our health, no matter our gender, fitness level, or how old we are. However, it’s important to know what experts recommend for each age group in order to get the appropriate amount of exercise.

5-Minute Crafts has prepared this guide with specific recommendations regarding daily and weekly physical activity depending on your age.

❗Important: This article has been created for informative purposes only and does not replace professional advice. We recommend consulting a doctor before following any guidelines on physical activity, as these may depend on your health conditions.

Children under 5 years of age:

Infants under 1 year old

During the day, infants should do the following:

  • Be active various times a day in different ways, especially through floor-based activities. Children who are not mobile yet should spend at least 30 minutes lying on their stomach, also known as prone position or tummy time, which should be spread throughout the day while they’re awake.

❗ Children shouldn’t spend more than 1 hour at a time restrained in a stroller, high chair, or any other equipment.

Children between 1 and 2 years old

During the day, children of these ages should:

  • Be physically active for at least 180 minutes in different activities of any intensity, which can be moderate to vigorous. These activities should be spread throughout the day.

❗Children shouldn’t spend more than 1 hour at a time restrained or remain seated for long periods of time.

Children between 3 and 4 years old

During the day, children of these ages should:

  • Be physically active for at least 180 minutes in different activities of any intensity, including at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activities, which should be spread throughout the day.

❗Children shouldn’t spend more than 1 hour on sedentary screen time.

Children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years of age

Children and adolescents between these ages should:

  • Spend an average of 60 minutes doing moderate to vigorous physical activities per day within the week. These activities should be mostly aerobic.
  • Do vigorous aerobic activities at least 3 days per week, including those that make bones and muscles stronger.

❗Sedentary time, especially screen time, should be limited.

Adults between 18 and 64 years of age

Adults between these ages should:

  • Spend at least 150 to 300 minutes doing moderate aerobic activities, or at least 75 to 150 minutes engaging in vigorous aerobic activities, or an equivalent mixture of moderate and vigorous activities per week.
  • Do moderate or more intense activities that strengthen muscles on 2 or more days per week.

If there are no contraindications, pregnant and postpartum women should:

  • Be physically active by doing moderate aerobic activities for at least 150 minutes per week, including different activities that strengthen their muscles.
  • Limit sedentary time or replace it with physical activity, which can be of any intensity.

Adults who are 65 years old or above

Older adults should:

  • Spend the same amount of time as adults being physically active — so around 150 to 300 minutes per week.
  • Integrate moderate or more intense activities that focus on strength training and functional balance on 3 or more days per week.
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