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Physical Activity

Key physical activity messages

Physical activity has a range of benefits and should be promoted across and individual's life course in order to promote and maintain good health. The benefits of physical activity can have a positive impact on individuals at differing life stages, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood and old age. To achieve the health benefits physical activity can lead to, the following messages should be followed.


Adults should aim to be active daily. Over the week activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of exercise in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Alternatively individuals can achieve similar benefits through 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.


150 minutes of activity should be carried out at a moderate intensity. Moderate intensity physical activities will cause adults to become warmer, breathe harder and their heart rates will beat faster but individuals should still be able to hold conversations. Vigorous intensity will cause adults to get warmer, breathe much hard and faster, heart rates beat rapidly and it makes continuing conversation more difficult.

Type of activity

Activity or exercise can be made up of many differing forms and can be planned or incorporated into an individual's daily activities. The spectrum of physical activity includes active play, sport, recreation, work, active transport and active living. Examples include hoovering, washing the car, brisk walking, cycling, running or swimming.


Activity can be made up of a number of smaller more manageable bouts which can be added up across a week or be carried out in one longer extended activity. One way to approach the time spent on activity is to aim for a minimum of 30 minutes each day of the week.

Inactive periods

Time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods should be kept to a minimum. E.g. watching TV or playing on video consoles for long periods.

Any increase in physical activity will confer health benefits for all, but those who currently exercise the least will benefit the most from an increase in physical activity. The health benefits of increasing physical activity considerably outweigh the health risks.

National advice and information

Change4Life – activities and information on how to get involved in excercise.

NHS Choices - physical activity guidelines for adults, children and families.

Help and Support Manchester

Physical Activity- For more information on local services, visit Manchester City Council's Help and Support portal.