Movement and exercise

All adults should try and do some type of movement and exercise each day, including those with reduced mobility.

Exercise plays a vital role in keeping us healthy, both physically and mentally. For example, it can reduce your risk of developing many long-term illnesses (such as cancer, stroke and heart disease) by up to 50%.

According to the NHS, adults should:

  • try to be physically active every day
  • do strength-building exercises to work the major muscles at least twice a week
  • do at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week
  • reduce the amount of time they spend sitting or lying down and break up long periods of inactivity with some movement.

Easy ways you can be more active include walking or cycling to your destination instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and going for a walk instead of watching TV.

Many adults spend a lot of time sitting down each day, such as sitting at a desk for work or travelling by car or public transport. It is important to take a break from sitting down regularly throughout the day.

Older people over the age of 65 are more likely to spend significant amounts of time each day sitting down. It is important to stay as active as you can, and even light exercise is better than no exercise.

You could take up more active hobbies, such as gardening, or join a community group such as a walking group or fitness class. You should also reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down – for example, watching TV or reading a book.

Activities you can do

Light-intensive activities you can do include:

  • moving around your home
  • walking slowly
  • making your bed
  • cleaning, vacuuming and dusting.

Moderate intensive activities you can do include:

  • brisk walking
  • riding a bike
  • dancing
  • pushing a lawn mower.

Vigorous activities you can do include:

  • jogging or running
  • walking up stairs
  • swimming fast
  • aerobics.

Activities to build strength include:

  • yoga
  • lifting weights
  • carrying heavy shopping bags or children
  • heavy gardening (such as digging)
  • wheeling your wheelchair.

Search our directory to find exercise and fitness classes or sports clubs you can join.

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