Any physical activity is better than none. Start small and build up gradually. As little as 10 minutes of moderate physical activity at a time provides physical and mental health benefits. Adults in England should aim to take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more, according to physical activity guidelines from the UK Chief Medical Officers.
What happens to your body if you do 150 minutes of activity a week?
Being active helps prevent or manage over 20 chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer and hypertension. It can help improve cognition, including memory, attention and processing speed. Those that are more active have better bone health and balance, with less risk of injury from falls, fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety and better quality of life and sense of overall well-being.
"I struggle to do 150 minutes per week at the moment. Is it still worth doing something?"
There is a growing amount of research showing that small amounts of physical activity can reap huge benefits - just one hour per week can start to make a difference to your health. Start small and see how much you can increase your minutes activity slightly from week to week.
"I don't know how to fit 2 and a half hours activity into my busy week... any tips?"
- The simplest way to get moving and improve your health is to start walking. It's free, easy and can be done just about anywhere.
- Incorporate it into your daily routine - travel to work, college or school by walking or cycling.
- Travel by public transport - people that do, tend to walk to bus stops and train stations - and walking briskly to catch a bus or train is good for the heart! Why not get off one stop early and get even more exercise into your day?
- Meeting up with someone for work or friendship? How about going for a walk together? Even a business meeting can be conducted on the go.
- Think about 150 minutes as many small chunks of time over the week. If you can do 30 minutes on 5 days every week then this adds up to 150 minutes.
- How do you spend your lunchtime? Going on a brisk walk to a sandwich shop slightly further away can help to reenergise you for the afternoon ahead.