Toggle mobile search bar

Social Links and Print

Singapore’s Physical Activity Guidelines Revised

To Tackle Sedentarism And Promote Variation In Physical Activity

• The new Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines advocates engagement in a variety of activities to achieve sufficient physical activity, reduce sedentary behaviour and live better through sport.

• New guidelines also add recommendations for persons with disabilities and pregnant and postpartum women.

Singapore, 12 June 2022 – Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) today unveiled the Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines (SPAG), a set of revamped guidelines [1] for physical activity. With an emphasis on encouraging a variety of physical activities and reducing sedentary behaviour, the guidelines provide Singaporeans of all ages – pre-schoolers, school children, adults and older adults – with detailed recommendations on the duration, intensity, frequency and type of physical activity for the benefit of their health and wellbeing. Recommendations for pregnant and postpartum women, and persons with disabilities (PwD) have also been added to the revised set of guidelines.

A Collaborative Move Towards a More Active and Healthier Nation

SPAG is jointly developed by a committee of experts from medical, health promotion, sport and research fields, chaired by representatives from SportSG and HPB. It is a culmination of intensive review of research studies and curation of new evidence that have emerged in the last decade, in consult with researchers and doctors on health and wellbeing. The new guidelines will serve to support the nation in improving public health outcomes. They will provide benchmarks for different stakeholders including healthcare and fitness professionals, as well as policymakers and community leaders who play key roles in creating an ecosystem that supports and enables active living. Importantly, SPAG is also developed with the community in mind, with the inclusion of practical tips and case studies to educate them to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.

Focusing on Variation in Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Behaviour

Incorporating best practices from the World Health Organisation’s guidelines, the recommendations in SPAG seek to improve Singaporeans’ literacy in increasing participation in physical activities and reducing sedentary behaviour. It aims to promote a variety of activities to achieve the five key components for physical activity – aerobic fitness, muscular strength, bone strength, flexibility and balance. Singaporeans can expect to gain a better understanding of how much physical activity is required to achieve the desired health benefits and learn the type of exercises suitable for their age groups and lifestyles.

For example, pre-schoolers 1 year and above should aim to achieve the recommendation of at least 180 minutes of physical activity daily through a range of activities including social play and a variety of movements such as running, jumping and throwing to build their fundamental movement skills. Engaging in such variety of activities is also recommended for pre-schoolers to limit their sedentary time.

For adults, the guidelines recommend at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week[2], and to strengthen muscles, bones and joints through different activities, at moderate or vigorous intensity, at least two days a week. Individuals can stay active through recreation such as jogging, swimming and playing a racquet sport to work out different muscle groups. Beyond leisure time, the guidelines also offer ways to incorporate physical activity into one’s daily routine, for example, doing household chores, taking the stairs instead of the lift and commuting actively. For older adults, a new recommendation is to include multi-component physical activity that emphasises strength and functional balance at least 3 days a week at moderate or greater intensity.

“After much consultation with international and local experts, I am happy to report that we have developed a set of physical activity guidelines that uniquely caters to our Singaporean society. This set of guidelines incorporates the latest scientific evidence, recommendations from World Health Organisation’s guidelines and global best practices. It also presents leading edge concepts such as the elements of fun and movement variation to address individuals’ different needs and enable them to derive maximum health dividends. Importantly, the guidelines are presented in a user-friendly way that speaks to different generations, making it easy to understand and adopt. With the launch of this set of guidelines, I hope it will inspire us to embrace sport and various physical activities, to see an active lifestyle as an essential aspect of our personal aspirations and collective desire for a HealthierSG,” said Dr Chiang Hock Woon, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sport Singapore.

Mr Koh Peng Keng, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Health Promotion Board, said, “We envisage SPAG to enable all population segments to take small and achievable steps towards a more active and healthier lifestyle. With the increasing use of digital devices in our daily living, it is important to find ways within our lifestyle routines to move more and break up sedentary time. With recommendations on the type, quantity and intensity of physical activity for different population segments, we encourage all Singaporeans to engage in varied exercises and activities to yield holistic health outcomes. HPB’s programmes will also continue to align with the guidelines in design and content, such as incorporating different physical activity components, to support the community in achieving the recommendations.”

Benefitting New Subpopulations

The newly included recommendations for pregnant and postpartum women are broken down into phases – during pregnancy and after childbirth – with useful information on the intensities and types of activities and exercises that individuals can consider as they work towards achieving at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Staying active during pregnancy can help reduce gestational weight gain which translates to a reduced risk of gestational diabetes both during pregnancy and after childbirth[3].

Persons with disabilities can also benefit greatly from keeping active. For adults with disabilities who are not able to meet the key guidelines, it is recommended that they engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and avoid inactivity. This can include spreading out some light-intensity activity throughout the day to break up sedentary time.

A summary of the guidelines for the six subpopulations can be found in Annex A. The full version of the guidelines is available on the ActiveSG Circle and on HealthHub.SG.

[1] Revised from ‘National Physical Activity Guidelines’ published in 2011 and ‘National Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth Aged up to 18 Years’ published in 2013.

[2] Every minute of vigorous-intensity activity can generally be considered as two minutes’ worth of moderate-intensity activity.

[3] Du, M., Ouyang, Y., Nie, X., Huang, Y., & Redding, S. R. (2019). Effects of physical exercise during pregnancy on maternal and infant outcomes in overweight and obese pregnant women: A meta‐analysis. Birth, 46(2), 211–221.