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So how much exercise do I really need to do to be active?

Short answer:

At least 20 minutes a day of activity that puts you moderately out of breath.

Long answer:

“If you’re not very active at the moment, the recommendations below might seem overwhelming. Think about how you could do a little every day. Even 10 minutes can have a positive impact. Over time, your fitness will increase and you’ll be able to do more.

Sit less

This is one of the biggest changes you can make. Try to break up long periods of sitting and increase the number of steps you take every day. Research suggests that just 1,000 more steps a day can make a difference. Some people find it useful to aim for a target – for example, 10,000 steps a day. Track your daily steps using a smartphone or pedometer and try to gradually increase this number.

Aerobic activity

Every week, try to do at least 150 minutes of activities like brisk walking, dancing, gardening and housework – about 20 minutes a day. These aerobic activities work your heart and lungs. Your body warms up, your heart beats faster and your breathing is quicker and deeper than normal. Aim to get moderately out of breath – use the talk test to check you’re working at the right level.

Strengthening activity

Aim to do activities that improve your muscle strength at least twice a week. You can fit this into your daily life, for example by carrying shopping bags. You could also do yoga or use weights in a gym.

Improving coordination and balance

If you’re older or at risk of falling, include some activities that improve coordination and balance at least one day a week. For example dance, tai chi and bowls.”