More than half of the Dutch population is not exercising enough

More than half of the Dutch population is not exercising enough

You would have thought that with cycling in the Netherlands being such a big thing, the Dutch would be fighting fit and exercising regularly. And there’s where you would be wrong. According to the new guidelines issued by the Dutch Health Council on the request of the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), only 45 percent of the population fits enough exercise into their week.

If we split the population groups up we can see that children between the ages four and 11 move the most, with 55 percent getting the recommended amount of exercise. Teens between the ages of 12 and 17 however, get the least exercise, 28 percent reaching the stated guideline amount.

New exercise guidelines

The new exercise guidelines for children, adults and the elderly all follow the same motto: moving is good, but more is better.

Adults and the elderly should:

  • Do 150 minutes of moderately intensive exercise per week, spread across a few days. More intensive exercise or a longer duration is also encouraged as it brings more health benefits with it.
  • Do muscle and bone strengthening exercises at least twice a week. The elderly should also combine these with balance exercises.
  • Avoid long periods of sitting.

Children aged 4-18 years old should:

  • Do at least an hour of average moderately intensive exercise per dag. Again, more is encouraged for extra health benefits.
  • Do muscle and bone strengthening exercises at least three times per week.
  • Avoid long periods of sitting.

Types of exercise

In order to reach the weekly exercise quota two-and-a-half hours, cycling or walking is enough. If you want to go one step further you can add high intensity exercises to your weekly routine such as, running or playing football.

Even doing the washing up or playing an instrument count as activities that raise your heart rate slightly and belong to the low intensity category.

Health benefits

Exercising enough not only gives you that “happy” feeling from the endorphins you release, it also has a positive effect on your health.

By moving around enough you decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and depression, and in the elderly the risk of bone fractures decreases. 

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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