I am looking to get active again and was wondering how much physical activity I should be doing each week?
The amount you should be doing will depend on a number of factors such as your age, lifestyle, current fitness level and state of health. As a general rule though, to gain health benefits kids and younger people should be exercising for at least 60 minutes each day, and adults should be exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
This does not mean that it has to be done all at once – so fitting physical activity into different parts of the day still counts! If you’re starting out again, remember to be active safely – build up your level of activity slowly, wear comfortable clothes, and drink plenty of water.
What do I need to do to lose weight and tone up?
Adults doing 30 minutes a day, or children and younger people doing 60 minutes per day, is ideal for health benefits – but if you’d like to get fitter and possibly lose weight and tone up, you should be doing more, and mixing moderate activities such as walking and gardening with vigorous activities such as running or playing sport.
And remember that to maintain a healthy body weight, we need to balance the energy going into our body (through what we eat and drink) with the energy our body uses. So a balanced diet is very important as well. Find out more on page 13 of the Getting Started Booklet.
I seem to get active for a while then lose interest. How can I stay motivated?
To be active regularly, you need to be motivated. To keep motivated it is important you find an activity, or a number of activities, that you enjoy – that way you are more likely to continue!
Some useful tips to help keep you motivated include:
• vary your activities so that you develop new interests
• set a physical activity goal and work towards it
• make your goals realistic – start with small goals and then build up slowly
• reward yourself when you achieve a goal
• involve a friend or your family; it’s more fun and can keep you interested
How hard should I be exercising?
Adults should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Moderate activities increase your heart rate, but don’t necessarily make you huff and puff. If possible, combine this with some regular vigorous activity such as squash, basketball, speed walking or aerobics. Vigorous activities make you ‘huff and puff’ and provide you with extra health and fitness benefits.
Children and younger people need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily to keep healthy.
My kids are watching too much TV. How can I get them more active?
Ideally kids shouldn’t spend more than two hours a day watching TV or playing computer games. Encourage them to be active as much as possible. Get them involved in organised sport or recreation – but if that’s not their thing talk to them and find out what is and see if there is something you can do together.
Television viewing of more than two hours a day in childhood and adolescence is associated with poor fitness, smoking, raised cholesterol and being overweight in adulthood. So keep them as active as possible!