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Physical Activity

The facts

No matter how much you do, physical activity is good for your body and mind. Adults should aim to be active every day. Some is good – more is better still. A daily brisk walk can boost your energy, lift your mood and make everyday activities easier.

Since 2011, the evidence to support the health benefits of regular physical activity for all groups has become more compelling. In children and young people, regular physical activity is associated with improved learning and attainment, better mental health and cardiovascular fitness, also contributing to healthy weight status.

In adults, there is strong evidence to demonstrate the protective effect on physical activity on a range of many chronic conditions including coronary heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, mental health problems and social isolation.

Regular physical activity can deliver cost savings for the health and care system and has wider social benefits for individuals and communities. These include increased productivity in the workplace, and active travel can reduce congestion and reduce air pollution.

PA guidance graphic

Adults (19 to 64 years)

For good physical and mental health, adults should aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still.

Adults should do activities to develop or maintain strength in the major muscle groups. These could include heavy gardening, carrying heavy shopping, or resistance exercise. Muscle-strengthening activities should be done on at least two days a week, but any strengthening activity is better than none.

Each week, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking or cycling); or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (such as running); or even shorter durations of very vigorous-intensity activity (such as sprinting or stair climbing); or a combination of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous-intensity activity.

Adults should aim to minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary, and when physically possible should break up long periods of inactivity with at least light physical activity.

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