Appropriate physical activity for everyone


Throughout our lives, the benefits of physical activity, particularly regular participation in sporting activities and physical exercise, are vital. These benefits include a reduced risk of contracting cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer, as well as improved musculoskeletal health, body weight control, and positive effects on mental health and cognitive processes.

The left-hand side of the physical activity pyramid contains the physical activity recommendations for children: they are advised to do 60 minutes of physical activity, such as everyday activities, free play and sport, and physical activity in childcare settings, at school and in sports clubs. They are also advised to do age-appropriate intense sporting activities, if they wish, as well as flexibility and muscle-strengthening exercises, 2 to 3 times per week. The top of the pyramid represents rest, relaxation and other leisure activities. The right-hand side of the pyramid contains the recommendations for adults: they are advised to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, such as everyday activities and moderate-intensity sport. Intense sporting activities, preferably aerobic, are recommended 3 to 5 times per week for at least 20 minutes. Specific muscle-strengthening and flexibility exercises are recommended 2 to 3 times per week for at least 20 minutes. The top of the pyramid represents rest, relaxation and other leisure activities.

What types of activity can I do?

Moderate intensity:  Slight increase in breathing and heart rate, no sweating

  • Walking briskly.
  • Riding a bike (on level ground).
  • Swimming.
  • Taking an active part in games and sports with your children.
  • Dancing.
  • Gardening.
  • Ball games and racket sports.
  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift.
  • Walking the dog.
  • DIY, etc.

High intensity:  deep and rapid breathing, close to shortness of breath and heart rate rises considerably, sweating

  • Walking fast.
  • Cycling.
  • Jogging.
  • Vigorous swimming.
  • Aerobics.
  • Team and competitive sports, etc.

N.B. : Intensity can vary from one person to another depending on their fitness.

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