Physical activity in childhood and youth
Working children's motor coordination and sense of rhythm is essential during the preschool stage (ages two to five) to develop the organism's agility and flexibility.
- Light physical activity. Standing, moving, walking, and playing a game that is not very energetic.
- Vigorous physical activity. For children who can walk, vigorous physical activity includes active play, running, jumping, cycling, dancing, swimming and climbing, among others.
In childhood, daily physical activity is needed around twice as much as adults.
Minors and adolescents (5 to 17 years old) should carry out at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activities every day. And more than 60 minutes daily provides a greater benefit for health.
Aerobic physical activities are recommended (cycling, swimming, dancing, playing tennis, soccer, volleyball, etc.) as well as incorporating vigorous activities that strengthen the muscles and bones at least three times a week. Namely, strength work. Examples of exercises for strengthening muscles include:
Weight training (supervised by professionals).
Exercising with elastic bands.
Exercises that use the body for resistance (planks, push-ups, etc.).
Yoga or aqua gym.
Physical activity in adults
Adults aged between 18 and 65 should do 2,5 hours of moderate physical activity per week, which can be increased to up to 5 hours, or 1,15-2,5 hours of vigorous activity, or a combination of both in periods of at least 10 minutes, and should also do strength exercises at least twice a week.
This will improve cardiorespiratory and muscle functions and bone health and reduce the risk of depression.
How much sport is recommended to do a week?
Dr. Gil Rodas and Dr. Eva Ferrer, specialists in Sports Medicine at the Clínic - Sant Joan de Déu, answer questions about physical exercise and its effect on health.
Physical activity in elderly people
Recreational or leisure activities. Like walking in the park, playing boules,...
Outside activities like walking, cycling or swimming.
Housework like sweeping, cooking, or playing with children with games that can be done without risk of falling.
Programmed sports or exercises to strengthen muscles and improve balance performed by the physical therapist with a recommended daily dedication of 20 minutes.
Doing yoga and other similar disciplines is a highly recommended exercise to keep muscles strong, maintain flexibility of the joints, balance, in general, and to reduce the risk of falling.
On this basis, this age group should do 2,5 hours of physical activity per week in sessions of 10 and 30 minutes and leave a day of rest in between, always taking into account the physical shape of the person.
Regarding those with some type of disease, it is recommended to consult the health team beforehand if you can do any physical activity.
Physical activity in pregnancy, postpartum and lactation
Being active is essential for pregnant women, as long as they do not have another underlying disease or a complicated pregnancy. Exercising during pregnancy means they are more likely to have a better delivery and postpartum.
Walking at least 2,5 hours per week and carrying out physical exercise adapted to each stage of pregnancy is recommended. Remember that the first trimester of pregnancy is very different from the third. Certain activities can be done throughout the pregnancy, such as water exercises, walking, or using the exercise bike.
However, the fact that the uterus is increasing in size and weight must be considered, which is why jogging until the second trimester of pregnancy is acceptable but should be replaced with walking in the third.
Strength exercises can also be done, but in this case supervision by qualified personnel is recommended.
The mother should continue to be active during postpartum by going for a walk with the baby for example, or doing physical activity in the water.
One of the recommendations when breastfeeding is to do physical activity after breastfeeding the baby to avoid discomfort.
Particular attention should be paid to the pelvic floor area. Hypopressive abdominal exercises or pilates are valid options, after consultation with a specialised professional, physical therapist or midwife.
Asking a professional for advice to establish which are the most suitable exercises is essential, since each woman is different and will be able to continue with her usual routine or will have to adapt it according to the activity routine she had before.