How much should you be doing?
1. Children under 5 years old
Children under five should not be inactive for long periods, except when they're asleep. Watching TV, travelling by car, bus or train, or being strapped into a buggy for long periods are not good for a child's health and development. There's growing evidence that such behaviour can increase their risk of poor health.
Being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of babies, toddlers and preschoolers. For this age group, activity of any intensity should be encouraged, including light activity and more energetic physical activity.
2. Children and young people aged 5 to 18
To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do three types of physical activity each week: aerobic exercise and exercises to strengthen bones and muscles, such as:
- at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – this should range from moderate activity, such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running and tennis
- on three days a week, these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles, such as push-ups, and exercises for strong bones, such as jumping and running
Many vigorous activities can help you build strong muscles and bones, including anything involving running and jumping, such as gymnastics, martial arts and football.
Children and young people should reduce the time they spend sitting watching TV, playing computer games and travelling by car when they could walk or cycle instead.
3. Adults aged 19 - 64
To stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast 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).
Moderate activity will raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster and 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.
4. Older adults aged 65 and over
To stay healthy or to improve health, older adults need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and strength exercises.
Older adults aged 65 or older, who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility, should try to be active daily and should do:
- at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or 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).
Support and Useful Links