Get going every day
Many of us aren't too keen on the idea of exercise. It might be that we’re too busy or we simply can’t face the thought of it. But most people are not getting the amount of activity they need to stay healthy. Only 1 in 20 people are actually doing the right kind of activity they need each week. And sitting down for hours – maybe at work, watching TV or playing computer games - can also increase the risk of poor health.
Building activity into your day keeps your heart healthy, reduces your risk of serious illness and strengthens muscles and bones. It can also be a great way of reducing your stress levels and lifting your mood if you’re feeling down.
- Adults needs to be active for at least 150 minutes each week
- Kids aged five to 16 need to be active for at least 60 minutes each day
- Kids under five need three hours of activity a day - find out more on NHS Choices
Activities for adults
For adults, it can seem hard to fit activity in to a busy schedule. Working and looking after the rest of the family and the home can mean there isn’t much free time. And sometimes activity can seem expensive too - but it doesn't have to be.
It's not just about feeling stronger, fitter and more energetic. You can also get a great sense of achievement if you decide to learn to dance or take up a new sport, and you’ll feel loads more confident too.
Being active means getting your heart rate up, feeling warmer (perhaps even breaking into a light sweat) and making your lungs work harder.
Try our ideas below for easy ways to get going every day!
Take up an active hobby
Being active is all about having fun. If we don’t enjoy it, we won’t keep it up. We all deserve to spend some time doing something we enjoy.
Try our active hobby ideas
Get active for free
Activity doesn’t have to be expensive. Taking up a sport or joining a gym offer great opportunities to get fit, but there are also loads of fun, easy ways you can get more active for free.
Find ways to get active for free, on NHS Choices
Try thinking about your day or week ahead and work out when you can spend a little time to get your heart rate going. Try making a weekly plan – it’ll help you see where you can it in more easily.
Try these 10 minute workouts, on NHS Choices
Variety is the spice of life
Finding new ways to be active, different routes, different places and with different people all mean it doesn’t have to be boring.
Find out about Nordic walking, on NHS Choices
Do it your way
Activity can be fun and social if you try new ways of being active with friends and family. But it can also be a great way of having time to yourself, if you have a busy home or work life. Try a 15 minute walk after dinner – it can be a great opportunity to clear your head.
See more walking tips
You don’t need to go to the gym to get active, why not swap the living room for the garden? Gardening is a great way of getting outdoors and being active – you could even have fun growing your own veggies too!
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all in one go! As long as you’re getting your heart rate up for 10 minutes or more, it will count towards your 150 active minutes a week. Just 20 or 30 minutes a day will keep you on target.
- Go for it when you do the housework! Using the smallest attachment when you do the vacuuming and plenty of elbow grease when you clean the windows means you’ll work up a sweat.
- Pet-tastic! Surprise the dog by taking it for a walk twice a day or a much longer walk than usual – you’ll both benefit!
- Valet value: clean the car by hand yourself using a bucket and sponge, rather than taking it to the car wash. Good for you and your wallet and you could even get the kids to help!
- Get on two feet: try to walk or cycle if you can, instead of driving or taking public transport.
For more ideas, try our active travel tips
And ideas for kids
Active kids are happy kids - they like to be running around and having fun. In fact, kids aged five to 16 need to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity that gets their heart beating faster than usual. And they need to do it every day to burn off calories and prevent them storing up excess fat in the body which can lead to cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It also keeps their bones healthy and encourages muscle strength and flexibility.
Stuck for ideas to keep the kids active?
Try our activity planner - it can help you think about how much active time the kids are getting through the week.
Kids' weekly activity planner
Generate your own fun
Our fun generator is full of active games for indoors and out, rain or shine - there are over 100 to choose from. There's even a mobile version for you to download to use while you're on the move.
Find the fun with the fun generator
Our straightforward tips can help you get the kids started with some creative and safe play ideas.
Try our play tips
Dancing is great fun for all the family. Kids will love the challenge of learning new steps or a routine - and you can join in if you want!
See our super dance moves
Why should I encourage my kids to be active? Don’t they get enough at school?
Kids should enjoy 60 minutes of activity on top of their school day. While kids are active at school, most of the time they are actually sitting down and can be happy just to chat to their friends in the playground instead of running around. It’s more fun if you make activity something the whole family can do together, and kids are more likely to join in if they see mum or dad doing it too.