We know that an active lifestyle is an essential part of good mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Someone who is doing less than 30 minutes of activity per week is considered to be inactive. Being inactive and/or sedentary (sitting or lying down for long periods) can lead to health problems including diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain.
There are clear, evidence based guidelines for how much physical activity we should all be doing to keep ourselves healthy - we know that many of us just aren’t doing enough.
Here’s what the guidelines suggest we should be trying to do:
- aim to do something active every day.
- aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high intensity activity per week.
- 150 minutes can be made up of smaller 10 minute chunks.
- activity to build muscle strength should be incorporated at least twice per week.
- aim to minimise the amount of time spend sedentary in a day.
How you can get more active
Physical activity is any activity that uses energy and raises your heart rate. Even a small increase in your activity levels can make a difference.
Physical activity should be built into everyday life and here are some examples of things you can be doing to help meet the guidelines…
To increase your activity generally, you can think about getting up from your desk to walk around the office, walking up a flight of stairs, going for a stroll or waking round the supermarket.
Moderate intensity activity
Moderate intensity activity means you can talk but your breathing and heart rate are raised. Examples of things you could do including going for a brisk walk, cycling or swimming.
High intensity activity
High intensity activity means you struggle to hold a conversation due to fast breathing and high heart rate. Examples of things you could be doing include running, fast cycling, fast swimming or aerobics.
Muscle strengthening activity
A strength exercise is any activity that makes your muscles work harder than usual. Examples include exercising with weight, carrying heavy objects such as groceries or working in the garden.
Ideas for how to be less sedentary
Sedentary means you are using very little energy for example sitting or lying down.
Even if you achieve 150 minutes of activity per week, being sedentary for large parts of the day should still be avoided due to the health risks associated with it.
Here are some ideas to help
- Reduce the amount of time spend watching TV or gaming.
- Take regular breaks from sitting at your desk – you could complete these simple desk based exercises
- Go for a lunch time walk
- Plan your day to break up tasks that require you to be sedentary
- Get off the bus a few stops earlier or parking a bit further away and walking the rest of the way.
Some ideas to help you get to 10,000 steps can be found in our infographic below:
Further help and advice
Improving your diet and lifestyle can help to improve your overall general health and wellbeing.
Examples of ways to improve your lifestyle include eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing your alcohol intake and stopping smoking.
There are lots of ideas for how you increase your physical activity. You may want to sign up for your local Park Run
, try out the Couch to 5K
or download the Active10 app
In your local area there is likely to be services that aim to make a significant, long term contribution to the improvement of the physical and mental health, wellbeing and quality of life for local residents.
Below are some of the services that are available in the boroughs our Trust covers: