The Cornerstones Of The Exercise Recommendations

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The Cornerstones Of The Exercise Recommendations
The Cornerstones Of The Exercise Recommendations
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The cornerstones of the exercise recommendations

Regular exercise is one of the most effective measures people can take to improve their health. Even switching from no - or little - movement to more and more regular movement is a decisive contribution to your own health. The positive effects of regular exercise are given regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and physical, sensory or mental disabilities.

The Austrian exercise recommendations of the Healthy Austria Fund are aimed at all people who want to do something for their health. They describe how much exercise is advisable from a health point of view.


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  • What is physical activity?
  • Target groups of the recommended exercise
  • Healthy exercise: what is important?
  • How much exercise is healthy?
  • About the Austrian exercise recommendations

The healthy amount of exercise can be achieved through various physical activities or targeted training.

Everyday and leisure activities, such as intensive housework or gardening, brisk walking, climbing stairs, active mobility, sports, etc. are also among the health-enhancing physical activities.

For health benefits, a range of exercise (exercise time) per week is recommended and the importance of muscle-strengthening and endurance-oriented activities is pointed out.

The general rule is: Long periods of sitting should be avoided or repeatedly interrupted by movement!

What is physical activity?

Physical activity includes any form of muscular movement that is associated with increased energy expenditure. It can be carried out with different intensity and in different forms.

All forms of exercise that improve health and where the risk of injury is low are called health-enhancing physical activity. In contrast to this, sedentary behavior is characterized by low energy consumption¸ e.g. sitting, lying down, standing, most forms of office work, watching television, computer games or driving a car.

Training has a special position within health-enhancing physical activity. Physical training aims to initiate adaptation processes in the body in order to improve body functions, e.g. endurance, strength or flexibility.

Target groups of the recommended exercise

The recommendations were drawn up for the following target groups:

  • Children of kindergarten age,
  • Children and adolescents,
  • Adult,
  • older adults,
  • Women during pregnancy and afterwards as well
  • Adults with chronic diseases.

In addition, recommendations were made to “be safely physically active”.

Healthy exercise: what is important?

In order for the health-promoting effects to occur, physical activity should meet certain requirements:

  • It is important to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • The individual physical activities should exceed a certain degree of exertion (intensity) and a minimum duration.
  • The entire activities per week should a certain extent reach.

How do you know the intensity of the movement?

Endurance-oriented movement with medium intensity means that during the movement you can still speak but no longer sing. Endurance-oriented exercise with a higher intensity means that only short exchanges are possible.

What is meant by “endurance-oriented movement” (= aerobic physical activity)?

If people move rhythmically over a longer period of time through the use of large muscle groups and the supply of oxygen to the muscles is secured, this is called aerobic or endurance-oriented movement. Brisk walking, running, cycling, dancing, active mobility, playing basketball, and swimming are some examples of endurance-oriented exercise.

What is meant by muscle strengthening movements?

If the movement recommendations speak of muscle-strengthening exercises, it means that, on the one hand, opportunities are regularly used in everyday life to strengthen the muscles (e.g. using stairs, cycling to strengthen the thigh muscles, walking uphill, etc.) and, on the other hand, a corresponding exercise program is put together so that all major muscle groups are used. For example, you can hang up an elastic band in the office or at home, with the aim of using it regularly.

What are balance exercises good for?

Elderly people are at increased risk of falling if they have fallen before or have difficulty walking. Therefore, older and older people should be physically active on a regular basis and carry out coordinative exercises, which also include balance exercises. Examples of balance exercises are: walking on tiptoe, walking on your heels, exercises on a wobble board (for fit older people) or exercises standing on one leg.

What is agility training good for?

Flexibility is a component of fitness in addition to endurance, strength, speed and coordination. Many everyday activities require a greater degree of flexibility (e.g. putting on shoes, personal hygiene, driving a car, etc.). Gymnastics and stretching exercises are suitable to increase mobility.

How much exercise is recommended?

Both muscle-strengthening exercises and endurance-oriented movements are recommended. In the six exercise recommendations, a range of exercise (exercise time) per week is specified for scope and intensity. If you want to benefit from the health-promoting effects, exercise should be implemented in this area.

Note The six recommended exercises contain further detailed explanations and additional information.

How much exercise is healthy?

In order to promote health and reduce the risk of illness, a certain level of activity is necessary. Many people are not very physically active and spend their everyday lives mainly seated. The most important step is going from "physically inactive" to "a little physically active".

First of all, it is a matter of incorporating exercise into everyday life as regularly as possible. The duration of the exercise units can then be increased. After fitness has been improved with these physical activities, the intensity can also be increased - from low to medium and finally to higher intensity.

Adults who are already "physically active" achieve further health effects if they increase the range of motion in the direction of "extremely physically active". With a further increase in the range of motion, the additional health benefits become noticeably smaller.

The individual activity level of a person is described in the Austrian exercise recommendations by the number of weeks of endurance-oriented exercise, e.g. in minutes per week.

  • Physically inactive: Aside from the low-intensity activities necessary to manage day-to-day routines, inactive people do not engage in moderate or high-intensity exercise.
  • Little physical activity : medium to high intensity physical activities are carried out, but the number of weeks is below the recommendations.
  • Physically active: Physically active people fulfill the recommended exercise of 150 to 300 minutes of exercise with medium intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of higher intensity or a corresponding combination of medium and higher intensity per week.
  • Extremely physically active: Weekly more than 300 minutes of exercise with medium intensity or 150 minutes with higher intensity or a corresponding combination of medium and higher intensity.

About the Austrian exercise recommendations

The Austrian recommendations for physical activity were published by the Healthy Austria Fund, a division of Gesundheit Österreich GmbH, and created by scientists from various fields. The recommendations are based on the current knowledge of international and national experts.

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