‘This is timely and will be of special interest to health service managers and members of primary care groups because the successful promotion of regular physical activity is a challenge contained in the strategy of Our Healthier Nation and is a candidate for incorporation into health improvement programmes and the service framework for coronary heart disease’ — Health Service Journal This crisply written and thought-provoking book integrates theories and studies from several disciplines to examine what is known about physical activity and health.

Recommended Amounts of Physical Activity

Recommended amounts of physical activity

The health benefits of physical activity have been recognized in many cultures for centuries. Physical activity is part of the medical traditions of cultures as diverse as Chinese, Indian, Native American, and African, as well as throughout the history of Greco-Roman Western civilization (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 1996). There is a long history of general recommendations to be physically active, but those recommendations have not provided specific guidelines about exactly how much activity should be done.

In this review of physical activity recommendations, we focus on health-related guidelines rather than on those designed to enhance sport performance. We also emphasize recommendations for the general population rather than for people with specific medical conditions.

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