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Movement & Nature

"If physical activity were a drug, we would refer to it as a miracle cure, due to the great many illnesses it can prevent and help treat." 

- UK Chief Medical Officer, Sept 2019

Why is it so important to keep active?

Inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for death
Inactivity is the cause of 1 in 10 premature deaths
Sitting contributes to 6.9% of all deaths
Inactivity is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths in the UK, which is equivalent to smoking

What counts as physical activity?

Exercise vs Physical Activity

Exercise is purposeful, organized, planned and recurring activity with the intention of improving or maintaining health and fitness 

Physical Activity is any movement that causes your muscles to contract so that energy use is more than at resting state, this includes but is not limited to exercise. Other examples of physical activity include:

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Active Living

  • Do squats when you’re brushing your teeth

  • Stand to read or watch the news

  • Move around when you’re on the phone

  • Do some light household chores whilst watching TV

  • Take out the batteries from your remote control so you have to get up to change the channel 

  • Walk around during the commercials

  • Put away the food preparation gadgets and prepare food the old-fashioned way

Moderate Intensity Activities

150 minutes a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity

  • Brisk walk

  • Gardening

  • Pushing a lawn mower

  • Household chores

  • Walking up and down stairs

  • Carrying and moving moderately heavy things (<20kg)

  • Hiking

  • Cycling

  • Dancing

  • Swimming

  • Water Aerobics

Active Living
- At Work

  • Stand up and stretch, squat, push-up, jog on the spot every 30 minutes

  • Try a standing desk 

  • Use the stairs instead of the lift 

  • Drink more water – go to the toilet more often 

  • Make your workspace inconvenient – move the phone, files, printer, bin away from your desk 

  • Try walking meetings

Vigorous Intensity Activities

75 minutes a week or 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity

  • Jogging/Running

  • Walking uphill briskly

  • Fast cycling

  • Competitive sports

  • Fast swimming

  • Carrying and moving heavy  things (>20kg)

  • Aerobics

Active Travel

  • Walk or cycle where possible

  • Stop at service stations to stretch on long journeys

  • Use public transport, get off at the station before your stop and walk the rest of the way 

  • Walk to your local corner shop rather than driving to the supermarket

  • Park at the far end of the carpark

Strength Training

twice a week

  • Carrying heavy shopping

  • Yoga

  • Tai Chi

  • Football

  • Basketball

  • Volleyball

  • Tennis

  • Squash

  • Badminton

  • Aerobic circuit training

  • Gym exercises


GOV.UK Health Matters, provides information on the benefits of physical activity in prevention and management of long-term conditions in adults. 

UK Chief Medical Officer's Physical Activity Guidelines provide guidance on the recommended physical activity for both children and adults. 

Moving Medicine is an initiative led by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK, in partnership with Public Health England and Sport England. It provides a digital toolkit for clinicians on how to discuss physical activity with patients. 

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