Being active isn’t about going for a run or going to the gym, it’s about being more active in our daily lives. Small changes such as walking instead of driving or taking the stairs instead of the lift can make a big difference such as:
- reducing your risk of conditions like heart disease and diabetes
- releasing stress, leaving you feeling happier and more relaxed
- making you feel like you have more energy, making daily tasks easier
- helping you sleep better.
We can all improve how active we are, and we will each have something we enjoy doing. You could even take up a new hobby like gardening or dancing - the important thing is that we move more.
Whatever our age, there's strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life.
Get in touch with your GP if you have a health condition and want to start being more active; they will tell you what the best exercises are for you.
It is recommended that adults are active daily, and for at least 150 minutes over a week through a variety of activities – what this is, is up to you!
For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quickly enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. You will be able to tell if you are working at this intensity if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.
If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You will be able to tell when it’s vigorous activity because you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
To stay healthy or to improve health, adults need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and strength exercises.
For most of us, daily chores such as shopping or housework don't count towards your activity target. This is because your body doesn't work hard enough to get your heart rate up.
Click on the links below for ideas on building more activity into your life: