Stay active, stay healthy

New lifestyle guidance for over-65s.


The UK’s leading doctors are recommending that people take up dancing, bowls or activities like tai chi to help stave off injury and illness in old age.

New guidance issued today emphasises the importance of building strength through regular muscle activities and balance for all age groups, and older adults in particular.

The guidelines also advise on safe levels of activity for pregnant women or new mothers, and the many benefits that this can bring.

This includes recommendations that for the first time provide new mothers with advice on the amount of exercise needed to help them regain strength, ease back pain and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes after giving birth.

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said:

“You always feel better for being active and we want as many people as possible to protect their future health and start their journey to a healthier life now.

“Since 2011, the evidence on the benefits of physical activity for our health has become even more compelling.

“Much of the guidance has been retained, such as 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity.

“But there is now greater flexibility in how these goals can be achieved.

“Our environment can make it difficult to be healthy, and our health is being damaged by inactivity. But the good news is that even small changes can make a big difference over time.

“Any amount of physical activity is beneficial – the new guidelines therefore emphasise that any is better than none, and more is better still.”



 The new guidelines are an update to those released in 2011, but the overall message remains the same: any activity is better than none, and more is better still.

It is recommended adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking or cycling or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity such as running Additionally, the new guidance recommends people undertake strength-based exercise at least two days a week.

Children and young people should aim for an average of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous activity.

There is strong evidence that physical activity protects against a range of chronic conditions. Meeting the guidelines can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 40%, coronary heart disease by 35% and depression by 30%.

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