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Your Health: Exercise, How Much and What Type?

How much exercise?

The NHS Livewell pages are excellent and give helpful suggestions for exercising as well as specific guidelines. The guidelines they give for adults between the age of 19-64 are as follows (for over 64, please see go to NHS Livewell):

150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week And Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)


75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week such as running or playing singles tennis And Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)


A mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week. For example, two 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of fast walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity,

And Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

A good rule of thumb is that one minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as two minutes of moderate activity. One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days a week. Always build up to this rather than doing 30 minutes in one go the first time you exercise. You can also do your 150 minutes in 10 minute increments i.e. brisk walking for 10 minutes counts towards your 150 minutes of moderate exercise.

For more NHS guidelines on exercise visit

What is moderate activity?

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate & make you breathe faster & feel warmer. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate level is if you can still talk, but you can’t sing the words to a song.

Examples of moderate activity are: Fast walking, heavy housework (i.e. vacuuming, mopping), pushing a lawn-mower, ballroom, line dancing, riding a bike, doubles tennis

What is vigorous activity?

Vigorous activity makes you breathe hard & fast. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. There is good evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over & above that of moderate activity.

Examples of vigorous activity are: Fast bike riding on level ground or with hills, jogging/running, swimming fast, singles tennis, football/Rugby, skipping rope, aerobics, heavy gardening such as digging and shovelling soil

What are muscle-strengthening activities?

A muscle-strengthening exercise is any activity that makes your muscles work harder than usual. This increases your muscles’ strength, size, power & endurance. To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you struggle to complete another repetition if doing repetitions and sets. For more information please visit the NHS Livewell pages.

Examples of muscle-strengthening exercises are: Lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight such as push-ups, sit-ups/squats, heavy gardening – such as digging and shovelling, cycling, dance

Muscle-strengthening exercises are not an aerobic activity, so you’ll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity.

Some vigorous activities count as both an aerobic activity and a muscle-strengthening activity such as: Running, football/rugby, dancing. Please see the NHS Livewell pages for more examples and advice about exercise.

See links below for more articles or click on images on the right (or below on smaller screens) for Article Categories.

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