How much physical activity do I need to stay active?

Staying active helps with staying healthy, protects against diseases and improves health. The amount of physical activity an individual needs to stay active and consequently healthy, depends on age, the type of physical activity, current state of health of the person, and body weight. Here are tips for various age groups;

Under 5 year olds

Babies should be helped to move their body throughout the day especially if they are not yet crawling. Simple activities such as moving their head, body and limps, letting them reach out for toys, and allowing them to pull and push on light toys can help ensure that your baby is physically active. Toddlers should be encouraged to do at least 180 minutes each day of activities such as skipping, hopping, jumping, rolling etc.

5 – 18 years

Persons in this age group should be encouraged to do at least 60 minutes each day of moderate and vigorous physical activities. They should also be encouraged to do muscle strengthening activities at least 2 – 3 times a week, and do light intensity activities daily. Parents and guardians should help to reduce the amount of time 5 – 18 year olds spend watching TV, playing computer games, or travelling by car.

18 years and above

Persons in this age group should aim at

  1. Doing light physical activities daily
  2. Doing at least 150 minutes/week of moderate physical activities or 75 minutes/week of vigorous physical activity. Alternatively the person can also do a combination of moderate physical activity and vigorous physical activity. The thumb rule is 1 minute of vigorous physical activity is equal to 2 minutes of moderate physical activity.
  3. Doing two or more days of muscle strengthening activities that involve all the major muscles such as abdomen, legs, hips etc.


For individuals looking to lose weight it is recommended to aim at increasing the intensity and duration of the physical activity recommendations above. In other words, such people should do more vigorous physical activities for longer durations. This is because the recommendations above are needed to maintain weight.

Ill health, diseases, conditions

Find out from your health professional. He or she will advise on the amount of physical activity you need.

Related articles: Why adults need to stay active, Why parents need keep infants and toddlers active, Why adolescents need to stay active, Why you need to ensure the elderly stay active

Last page review: 22/03/2016
Next page review: 22/03/2018

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