Get active your way

There are many ways that busy mums, families, young people, office workers and older adults can build physical activity into their lives.

Being physically active is easier than you think, especially if you make activity part of your daily routine.

The amount of activity you need to do each week depends on your age. Click on the links below to find out how much exercise you should be doing:

Daily chores such as shopping, cooking or housework don't count towards your activity target. This is because your body doesn't work hard enough to get your heart rate up.

If you have a disability, talk to your healthcare team about the amount and types of activities that are right for you. Watch a video on how to keep fit with a disability.

Click on the links below for ideas on building more activity into your life:

Busy mums

  • Set a time for physical activity and stick to it. You’re more likely to find time to be active if you do it at the same time and on the same days each week.
  • Split activity up throughout the day. You can achieve your target in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Try these 10-minute workouts.
  • Walk your children to and from school. This will also help them develop a pattern of physical activity.
  • Be active with your child. Take them to the swimming pool or play in the garden or park. Watch a video on exercising with kids.
  • Take up running. Running is an effective and straightforward way of exercising. If you're just starting, try our popular Couch to 5K running plan.
  • Get a free personal trainer with Strength and Flex, a five-week exercise workout plan to increase strength and flexibility.
  • Join a child-friendly gym. Find a fitness class or club that allows children in or that offers childcare during a workout.
  • Set up a buggy group with other mums and go on long walks with the children.
  • Exercise DVDs allow you to get a good workout without having to leave your house. Exercising at home is easy to fit around your daily routine.
  • Exercise during your lunch break. Your office may have a gym, or you may have access to a nearby swimming pool or squash courts.
  • Cycle or walk part, if not all, of your journey to work. Get off one bus or tube stop before your final destination. Find out more about cycling for beginners.

For advice on exercising after pregnancy, read Post-pregnancy exercise.

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Families

  • Children don’t need to get their daily target of 60 active minutes all in one go. They can do them in chunks of 10 minutes throughout the day.
  • Try something new. If you’re not sure what activities you’d like to try as a family, use the What's your sport? tool to find out what you're best suited to.
  • If parents are physically active, their children are likely to follow their example and to be active too.
  • Instead of watching TV, encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends, such as playing chase or riding bikes.
  • Let your kids help decide what to do. Children are more likely to participate in something if they're involved in picking it.
  • When it comes to play, children should do what they enjoy most. Running around, having fun with other kids and burning off energy are great ways of getting some (or all) of their target 60 minutes of activity a day.
  • Walking is a fun and easy way for children to get active while spending time with you and their friends. Get more walking tips in Walking for health.
  • Have a disco in your lounge with some of your CDs. All you need are some great tunes and you and your children can have fun dancing anywhere. Read Dancing for fitness.
  • Have a splash. Whether doing lengths of the pool or having a good splash about, children love playing in water. Find out more in Swimming for health.
  • Cycling is a great alternative to the car or bus. You don’t even need to have somewhere to get to, just taking the kids out for a bike ride is a fun activity.

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Young people

  • Try something new. If you’re not sure what activities you’d like, use the What's your sport? tool to find out which sport or activity you're best suited to.
  • Take up running. Running is an effective and straightforward way of exercising. If you're just starting, try our popular Couch to 5K running plan.
  • Get into shape with Strength and Flex, a five-week exercise plan to increase your strength and flexibility.
  • Walk more: to school, to visit friends, to the shops, or other places in your neighbourhood. For health benefits, aim to do 10,000 steps a day.
  • Get your mates involved. You're more likely to keep active if you have fun and other people to enjoy yourself with.
  • Ask your parents if you can go to the gym with them or if there's a local community centre where you can exercise.
  • Create a new routine where you walk or run every day when you get home from school or before dinner.
  • If you don't want to exercise outside on your own, buddy up with a friend or use an exercise DVD in your bedroom.
  • Dance in front of the TV or play some CDs. All you need are some great tunes and you can have fun dancing anywhere and burn calories at the same time.
  • Do some house chores. Although light tasks such as taking out the rubbish won't raise your heart rate, some heavy gardening or washing the car will count towards your daily activity target.

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Office workers

  • Cycle or walk part, if not all, of your journey to work. Get off one bus or tube stop before your final destination. Find out more about cycling for beginners.
  • If you need to drive, try to park further away from your office and walk the rest of the way.
  • Discuss project ideas with a colleague at work while taking a walk.
  • Stand while talking on the telephone.
  • Walk over to someone's desk at work rather than calling them on the phone.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift, or get out of the lift a few floors early then use the stairs.
  • Walk up escalators or travelators rather than standing still.
  • Go for a brisk walk during your lunch break. Use a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you take.
  • Try to find different walks, and alternate between them during the week. Build up gradually to walking 10,000 steps a day.
  • Exercise before or after work, or during your lunch break. Your office may have a gym, or you may have access to a nearby swimming pool or squash courts.

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Older adults (65 years and over)

  • Be active around the house. Cooking, housework and walking while you're on the phone can help to keep you mobile, although these activities won't count towards your weekly activity target
  • Improve your strength, balance and flexibility with our step-by-step exercise guides for older people, which include a section on sitting exercises.
  • Get into shape with Strength and Flex, a five-week exercise plan to increase strength and flexibility for beginners.
  • Conservation groups can be a great way to get involved in improving your local environment and being active at the same time. Watch a video about Green Gyms.
  • Try something new. If you’re not sure what activities you’d like, use the What's your sport? tool to find out which sport or activity you're best suited to.
  • Fast walking is the easiest way to increase your activity levels. Find a friend to walk with or join a walking group for some extra motivation. Read about Walking for health.
  • Senior sports or fitness classes keep you motivated and can be fun, relieve stress and help you meet friends.
  • Heavy gardening, including pushing, bending, squatting, carrying, digging and shovelling, can provide a good workout.
  • Swimming, aqua-aerobics and working out in water are ideal for older adults because water reduces stress and strain on the body's joints. Find out more in Swimming for fitness.
  • Yoga is suitable for all ability levels. It combines a series of poses with breathing and is good for building strength, flexibility and balance. Find out more about yoga.
  • Tai chi is an ancient Chinese art that builds strength, flexibility and balance through slow and controlled movements. Find out more about tai chi.
  • Pilates focuses on stretching and strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. Find out more about pilates.  
  • Take up running. Running is an effective and straightforward way of exercising. If you're just starting, try our popular Couch to 5K running plan.

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Thanks to nhs.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.