Twice-weekly exercise can be lifesaver for over 50s, British health chiefs say

New guidance was issued on Saturday by health chiefs in Britain to encourage people over 50s and pregnant ladies to undertake more physical activity.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care revised guidelines, emphasizing the importance of building strength and balance for adults, and include recommendations for pregnant women, new mothers and disabled people.

The department said falls are the main reason older people are taken to hospital emergency rooms, and could be avoided through daily activities such as brisk walking, carrying heavy shopping, climbing stairs, swimming and gardening.

“There is strong evidence that physical activity protects against a range of chronic conditions. Meeting the guidelines can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 40 percent, coronary heart disease by 35 percent and depression by 30 percent,” the department added in the first upgrade in its advice since 2011.

Under the new guidelines, adults are advised to undertake strength-based exercise at least two days a week to help delay the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density that starts from around age 50.

The guidance also advises on safe levels of activity for pregnant women and new mothers. A moderate amount of exercise for new mothers is proven to help them regain strength, ease back pain and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.

The new advice is also designed to encourage good development in babies and children, with the UK Chief Medical Officers recommending lots of “tummy time”.

“As much active play as possible in children under 5 is encouraged, and older children are recommended to be active for an average of 60 minutes a day across the week,” it reads.

The government is to work with nurseries and kindergartens to find fun opportunities for young children to exercise during the day through a new Daily Toddle initiative.