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Exercise Recommendations

Why Exercise?

Just a little exercise each day can give you a wide range of benefits such as:

More energy – you'll be able to cope with your daily routine and have energy to spare
Reduced stress – you'll be able to relax more easily, have more confidence and feel better about yourself
Better balance, strength, suppleness and mobility
More social opportunities – you'll meet other people who enjoy being active
Increased enjoyment – activity can be fun and it's something you can do as a family
Improve or even prevent health problems such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, some cancers, osteoporosis, stress and depression
Stronger bones and muscles
More independence in later life
Maintenance of a healthy weight
Better health
Improved sleep

Exercise recommendations for adults

For general health benefit, adults should achieve a total of at least 30 minutes a day of at least moderate-intensity* physical activity on at least five or more days of the week.

The recommended levels of activity can be achieved either by doing all the daily activity in one session, or through several shorter bouts of activity of 10 minutes or more. The activity can be lifestyle activity or structured exercise or sport, or a combination of these.

More specific activity recommendations for adults are made for beneficial effects for individual diseases and conditions . All movement contributes to energy expenditure and it is important for weight management. It is likely that for many people, 45-60 minutes of moderate–intensity physical activity is necessary to prevent obesity. For bone health, activities that produce high physical stresses on the bones are necessary.

The recommendations for adults are also appropriate for older adults. Older people should take particular care to keep moving and retain their mobility through daily activity. Additionally, specific activities that promote improved strength, coordination and balance are particularly beneficial for older people.

Exercise recommendations for children and young people

Children and young people should achieve a total of at least 60 minutes of at least 'moderate-intensity'* physical activity each day.

At least twice a week this should include activities to improve bone health (activities that produce high physical stresses on the bones), muscle strength and flexibility.

* Moderate-intensity physical activity' equates to a brisk walk, cycling, swimming, dancing etc. To be of benefit, the activity should make you feel warm and breathe more heavily than usual.