How much physical activity should I be doing?
For general health benefit, adults of all ages should do at least 30 minutes moderate activity a day on 5 or more days of the week. (Moderate activity means any activity that leaves you feeling warm and breathing more heavily than usual. You don’t have to be completely out of breath or work up a sweat.) This doesn’t need to be one 30-minute session; it can also be made up of shorter bouts of activity of 10 minutes or more.
If 30 minutes a day seems a lot, start with 5 minutes at least 3 times a day and work up and if you simply can’t manage 30 minutes a day, don’t worry. Any amount of additional activity will make a difference.
Because there are so many benefits, including:
- Feeling better
- Having more energy
- Sleeping better
- Helping to reduce stress and anxiety
- Helping you to relax more easily
- Having more self-confidence
- Having better concentration
- Reducing isolation and helping you to stay in touch with other people
- Meeting people and making friends
- Achievement – learning something new and being successful
- Enjoyment – activity can be great fun and something you can do with other people
- Helps you stay independent and mobile in later life
- Makes it easier to carry out your everyday activities
- Maintains stronger bones and muscles
- Improves balance, posture and co-ordination
- Maintains joint mobility and suppleness
It helps to manage and control:
- Heart disease, including angina
- Weight (and body fat)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Type 2 diabetes
- Joint and bone problems, such as arthritis
Helps to reduce the risk of:
- Heart disease and stroke
- Some cancers (such as colon cancer)
- Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones)
- Falls and injuries
As you get older, regular physical activity also helps you to stay in touch with friends and neighbours and to get out and about.
Will taking up physical activity do me any harm?
If you are worried about taking up any form of exercise, you might be reassured to know that the risks associated with the recommended levels of activity are low for people of all ages. However, if you suffer from any health condition you should seek medical advice before starting any exercise program