Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose.
Whatever your age, there's strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life.
People who are active regularly are less likely to develop many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.
Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy. It can also reduce the risk of developing stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
To stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day and try to be physically active (through a variety of activities) for at least 150 minutes in total every week.
For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life. Why not walk or cycle instead of using the car to get around? The more you do, the healthier you'll feel, while taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.
For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.
If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity.
You can tell when it’s vigorous activity because you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has increased quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
There’s lots of information about building up and maintaining your fitness on the Live Well pages at NHS Choices (opens in new window).
Click below to find out if you're doing enough for your age: