The UK Physical Activity Guidelines detail the minimum amount of activity adults need to maintain a good level of health and are summarised below. Aim to do at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more (e.g. going for a brisk walk or leisurely cycle for 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week)
- You can achieve the same health benefits by doing 75 minutes of more vigorous intensity activity, such as swimming, running or sports
- Aim to do some physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week e.g. exercising with weights
- Try not to spend too much time being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods (e.g. sitting at desk, watching TV)
If you are an older adult, the following guidelines also apply:
- If the guidelines seem a little hard to achieve, remember that some physical activity is better than none, and the more physical activity you do the healthier you’ll be
- As an older adult you should only participate in vigorous intensity activities if you are already participating in moderate intensity ones
- To reduce the risk of falls, aim to do some physical activity to improve balance and co‑ordination on at least two days a week such as Tai Chi or Yoga
How much physical activity should my child do to keep fit and healthy?
For all babies, children and young people, physical activity is essential for physical, mental and social development. The UK Physical Activity Guidelines detail the minimum amount of activity children of all ages need to do.
For 0-5 year olds:
- Try to encourage physical activity from birth, particularly through floor-based play (i.e. tummy time) and water-based activities (parent and baby swim sessions).
- If you child can walk unaided, encourage them to active everyday for at least 180 minutes (3 hours), spread throughout the day (e.g. going to the park, walking, running and chasing games, using a trampoline)
- Try to ensure your child does not spend too much time being restrained or sitting (except time spent sleeping).
For 5-18 year olds:
- Encourage your child to do moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day. (e.g. riding a bike, Playground activities, swimming)
- Your child should also do more vigorous activities at least three days a week (e.g. Sports such as gymnastics or tennis)
- All children and young people shouldn’t spend too much time being sedentary (i.e. sitting), by reducing time spent watching TV or playing computer games
For further information, please see www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-physical-activity-guidelines or contact us.