Live Well

Our Live Well section covers a number of areas relating to improving your fitness, which can lower your risk of developing long term chronic conditions.

Improving the fitness of you and your children

Children and adults should aim to do a little bit of physical activity every day. Any type is fine. The more you do, the better.

Children aged 5-18 should:

  • Do two types of physical activity each week that include aerobic exercise and exercises that work all the major muscle groups
  • Try to get 60 minutes of moderate physical activity a day
  • Take part in a variety of physical activities to build movement skills, muscles and bones
  • Whenever possible, reduce time spent sitting or lying down and complete some activity throughout the day.

Adults should:

  • Stay active each day. Any exercise is better than none, and more is best
  • Do strengthening exercises that work all your major muscle groups
  • Do at least 150 mins of moderate intensity or 75 mins of vigorous intensity activity per week
  • Reduce time spent lying / sitting down, breaking up long parts of not moving with some exercise

You can also achieve your weekly activity target with:

  • A couple short sessions of very intense exercise
  • A mix of moderate intensity, moderate intensity, and vigorous intensity

Make sure your activity is appropriate for your fitness level. You can do your physical activity on a single day or spread it out over a few days.

Activity Types

We should all try to mix up our activity types. A good mix of moderate aerobic activity, vigorous activity and very vigorous activity will benefit your body in different ways.

What’s a moderate aerobic activity?

If you’re working at a moderate intensity level, you’ll raise your heart rate and make you breathe more quickly and feel warmer. You’ll still be able to talk, but not sing.

Examples of moderate intensity activities are:

water aerobics, riding a bike, dancing, doubles tennis, mowing the lawn, hiking.

What’s a vigorous activity?

Vigorous activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re at this level, you won’t be able to say too much without pausing for air. In general, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity gives the same health benefits as 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity.

Examples of vigorous activities are:

jogging, swimming, sports like football, rugby, netball, hockey, martial arts.

What’s a very vigorous activity?

Very vigorous exercise is bursts of maximum effort followed by periods of rest.

Examples of very vigorous activities are:

lifting heavy weights, circuit training, sprinting up hills, interval running, running up stairs, spinning classes

What exercises make muscles stronger?

Strength exercises should be done to the point of exhaustion. There are many ways to strengthen your muscles at home or at the gym.

Examples of exercises that strengthen your muscles are:

carrying heavy shopping bags, yoga pilates, lifting weights, doing exercises that use your own body weight,such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling.

Fitness and the long term

You should approach improving your fitness as a long term goal. Small efforts lead to large gains, but it won’t happen overnight.

Recording your fitness from day 1, will help you realise just how far you have come over the coming weeks and months. You might only be able to do 2 sit-ups to start with, but after a few weeks, you will be surprised just how many more you can do! This monitoring of your progress will help your motivation for continuing the road to a healthier, fitter lifestyle.

Try the following exercise routines in order to improve your fitness:

  • Strength workout videos in the NHS Fitness Studio Strength and Flex
  • A 5-week exercise plan for beginners, to improve your strength and flexibility

You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days as your aerobic activity – whatever’s best for you.

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

“Live Well” Resources that may help

Below are a list of resources that may help you with your fitness.