Physical activity guidelines

The government has produced guidelines to say how active we need to be to stay healthy. There are different guidelines depending on how old you are.

You can download a helpful summary diagram here.

Adults aged 19 to 65

Adults between the ages of 19 and 65 should aim to be active every day.

Activity should add up to 150 minutes per week, that can be 5 x 30 minute sessions, or made up of 10 minute sessions. This should be moderate intensity exercise.

Some of this exercise should be muscle building exercise, you should aim to do this this on at least 2 days per week.

All adults should minimise the amount of time they spend sitting down.

One way to reach your 150 minutes is 30 minutes of fast walking or cycling on 5 days a week.

There is a useful sheet explaining the recommendations for adults.

Adults aged over 65

People over the age of 65 should do the same 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise and include some muscle building exercise. It is also recommended that they include some activity to improve balance and coordination on at least 2 days per week.

Sheet of recommendations for older adults.

Guidelines for children

Under fives (not yet walking) should be encouraged to be active from birth through floor based play and water based activities.

Under fives that are walking should be active for 3 hours (180 minutes) per day.

5 to 18 year olds should aim to be active for a minimum of 60 minutes per day. On 3 days a week they should include vigorous intensity exercise such as sport or running.

All children should minimise the amount of time they spend sitting.

Factsheets for under 5’s not walking, under fives walking and 5 to 18 years olds.

Types of exercise

Moderate intensity exercise makes you warmer, your heart beat faster and you will need to breathe a bit harder. A good example is a brisk walk.

Vigorous exercise causes you to get get warm quickly, you will get sweaty and you’ll need to breathe harder. If you are finding it difficult to maintain a conversation while exercising you are doing vigorous exercise.

There is more about the different types of exercise in the ‘types of exercise‘ section

Physical activity guidelines

The government has produced guidelines to say how active we need to be to stay healthy. There are different guidelines depending on how old you are.

You can download a helpful summary diagram here.

Adults aged 19 to 65

Adults between the ages of 19 and 65 should aim to be active every day.

Activity should add up to 150 minutes per week, that can be 5 x 30 minute sessions, or made up of 10 minute sessions. This should be moderate intensity exercise.

Some of this exercise should be muscle building exercise, you should aim to do this this on at least 2 days per week.

All adults should minimise the amount of time they spend sitting down.

One way to reach your 150 minutes is 30 minutes of fast walking or cycling on 5 days a week.

There is a useful sheet explaining the recommendations for adults.

Adults aged over 65

People over the age of 65 should do the same 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise and include some muscle building exercise. It is also recommended that they include some activity to improve balance and coordination on at least 2 days per week.

Sheet of recommendations for older adults.

Guidelines for children

Under fives (not yet walking) should be encouraged to be active from birth through floor based play and water based activities.

Under fives that are walking should be active for 3 hours (180 minutes) per day.

5 to 18 year olds should aim to be active for a minimum of 60 minutes per day. On 3 days a week they should include vigorous intensity exercise such as sport or running.

All children should minimise the amount of time they spend sitting.

Factsheets for under 5’s not walking, under fives walking and 5 to 18 years olds.

Types of exercise

Moderate intensity exercise makes you warmer, your heart beat faster and you will need to breathe a bit harder. A good example is a brisk walk.

Vigorous exercise causes you to get get warm quickly, you will get sweaty and you’ll need to breathe harder. If you are finding it difficult to maintain a conversation while exercising you are doing vigorous exercise.

There is more about the different types of exercise in the ‘types of exercise‘ section