What is physical activity?

Physical activity is any activity that you may do that helps to improve or maintain your physical fitness as well as your health in general.

It can include:

  • Everyday activities. For example, walking or cycling to work or school, doing housework, gardening, DIY around the house, or any active or manual work that you may do as part of your job.
  • Active recreational activities. This includes activities such as dancing, active play amongst children, or walking or cycling for recreation.
  • Sport. For example, exercise and fitness training at a gym or during an exercise class, swimming and competitive sports such as football, rugby and tennis, etc.
  • Standing! Avoid sitting for prolonged periods which has been shown to have negative effects on your general health.

The benefits of physical activity

Regular physical activity can make you feel better in yourself as well as having a number of proven benefits for your health.

  • It reduces the risk of developing many common medical conditions e.g. high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, ‘thinning’ of the bones (osteoporosis) and several cancers to name a few!
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a factor in many illnesses
  • Reduces stress. Regular activity is well recognised as an aid to stress management
  • It has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on existing pain, so may help unrelated pain that you may have by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream

How much physical activity should I do?

Adults should aim to do a mixture of aerobic activities and muscle-strengthening activities.

Ideally, you should aim for:
1. At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on at least five days of the week.
2. Do a minimum of two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities per week, although these should not be on consecutive days.

Want to get active?

Click below for ideas on staying active

Staying active is good for your mental health

Find the right activity for you

Are you a healthy weight?

Calculate your Body Mass Index to find out if you are a healthy weight