Home » Featured, NHS Research News

Do 5 Year Olds Really Need to Exercise?

No Comment

After a long wait and various stages of consultation and feedback the latest research on physical activity and its effect on fitness has finally been published by the Chief Medical Officer. The report concentrated on the role that fitness plays in the prevention of disease and was endorsed by an international team of experts prior to publication. One surprising aspect is that the guidelines include specific recommendations for the under fives but this has undoubtedly overshadowed the importance of the study and its conclusions.

The report includes a number of points which, although seemingly obvious, would also lead to a major improvement in the fitness levels of anyone who followed them. The report found;

  • For exercise to have a significant beneficial effect then it needs to make you sweat and raise your heart rate.
  • More is better. The minimum weekly amount of exercise for adults is 150 minutes and anything more than this is a bonus. This is apparently moderate level activity such as fast walking or cycling. More intense activity like running or tennis reduces the time requirement to around 75 minutes per week.
  • Time spent sitting and doing nothing adversely affects an individuals fitness levels – even if they reach the minimum 150 minute weekly requirement.

The report also states that the under 5’s need to be physically active for at least 3 hours every day. This activity includes some relatively light activity such as rolling and playing.

The study is based on a large amount of evidence and large scale reviews including a US Government report on the health benefits of physical activity and also a review by the World Health Organization. The recommendations also change the previously recommended guidelines which proposed 30 minutes of moderate activity once a day. Based on the new guidelines, less than 40% of adult males and 30% of adult females are actually achieving the required levels of physical activity and this may go some way to explaining the extensively reported rise in obesity levels in the UK.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn