Physical activity has many positive effects on our health, as it is associated with a lower risk of several chronic diseases. At the same time, a sedentary lifestyle is associated with an increased risk of disease.
Sedentary leisure time means that you are involved in sedentary activities during leisure time, i.e. walk, cycle or engage in other physical activity for less than two hours a week. This means that both physical activity and not engaging in sedentary activities should be recommended.
The Swedish recommendations for physical activity adhere to the recommendations of WHO, which entail that all adults should be physically active for a minimum of 150 minutes per week of at least moderate intensity in total (for high intensity 75 minutes per week is recommended).
The proportion of women and men in Sweden who have reported that they exercise regularly has increased since 1980 and is now approximately 60 percent. However, the proportion of women and men in the age group 16–84 years who are physically active for at least 30 minutes per day has been unchanged at approximately 65 percent over the last decade. The proportion with a sedentary leisure time has also been relatively unchanged at approximately 13–15 percent during the same period. There are no major differences between the genders. However, sedentary leisure time is more common among the older people compared to young people and is twice as common among people with only primary and lower secondary education compared to people with post-secondary education.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden works to promote health and prevent diseases. We do this by monitoring the health status of the population and analysing underlying factors. We are the coordinating agency for the objective in the outdoor recreation policy which focuses on outdoor recreation for good public health. We are also a national focal point for WHO's work within non-communicable diseases and for the work on health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) within the EU and the WHO European Region.
The Swedish method for prescribing physical activity has been chosen as best practice by the European Commission to be implemented in other EU Member States. The transfer and adoption is supported through the project EUPAP – A European Physical Activity on Prescription model – coordinated by The Public Health Agency of Sweden.