Recommended activity levels
When it comes to our overall health, diet is only half the story. The other critical part is keeping active. The UK Chief Medical Officers state that physical activity has compelling health benefits and in adults can contribute to the prevention of many chronic conditions including coronary heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, mental health problems and social isolation. In children and young people, regular physical activity is associated with improved learning and attainment, better mental health and cardiovascular fitness, also contributing to healthy weight status.(68) Despite this, 21% of adults in England are considered to be inactive.(69)
The good news is that keeping physically active can be done at any level of skill and there no minimum amount of physical activity required to achieve some health benefits. It can take many forms, including daily activity, active recreation, and sport.(68)
How much is enough?
The UK Chief Medical Officers set out a number of recommendations based on age and ability. However, generally for adults aged 18–64 years, it recommends throughout the week at least 150 minutes of activity which requires a moderate amount of effort and noticeably accelerates the heart (such as a brisk walk or cycling) or at least 75 minutes of activity which requires a large amount of effort and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate (such as running, walking or climbing briskly up a hill) (68); or even shorter durations of very vigorous exercise (such as sprinting).
Whatever you choose, by becoming more active throughout the day in relatively simple ways, you can quite easily achieve the recommended activity levels.
You can find out more guidance from the UK Chief Medical Officers here.