NHS Health Check

Helping you prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia

Get active

Physical activity doesn't have to mean hours at the gym

At an NHS Health Check, you may have discussed your current levels of physical activity with your healthcare professional.

Physical activity can help you to maintain or achieve a healthy weight. It can also help to lower raised blood pressure and cholesterol. All this helps to reduce your risk of health conditions such as stroke and heart disease. 

If it was recommended that you do more physical activity, your healthcare professional may have given you advice on the best way to do this.

There's also lots of information and support on NHS Choices that can help.

What counts as physical activity?

Physical activity doesn't have to mean spending hours at the gym, or doing competitive sports.

Moderate physical activity means any activity that causes your heart rate to raise, and you to break a sweat. One way to tell that you're doing moderate physical activity is that you'll be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favourite song. 

These activities can include anything from walking fast, to playing doubles tennis, to pushing a lawn mower.

Learn more in Benefits of exercise.

Active ideas

How much activity?

The amount of physical activity that’s right for depends on your age.

If you are aged 19 or over you should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity – for example, fast walking or cycling – every week.

To learn more:

Your healthcare professional can provide more specific advice on how much physical activity is right for you.

Losing weight

To achieve a healthy weight, adults who are overweight are likely to need more activity than is recommended for other adults. This activity should be accompanied by changes to diet. 

If you are overweight, first aim to gradually build up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. This will bring substantial health benefits, even if that amount of activity does not cause you to lose weight.

Learn more in Lose weight.

More advice

There's lots more information and advice on getting active in the Fitness section.

Page last reviewed: 15/05/2013

Next review due: 15/05/2015


Walking groups

Walking is good exercise and helps to prevent illnesses such as heart disease. Find out more about the Ramblers Association.

Media last reviewed: 06/09/2013

Next review due: 06/09/2015

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