Physical activity guidelines for all

We have created this page to provide you with further information about what physical activity is, with information on the different types of activity, and guidelines on how much physical activity is recommended for all age groups.

We hope this page will support you and your family to lead a healthy and active life.

What is Physical Activity?

The World Health Organisation defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Physical activity refers to ALL movement throughout your day, including leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person's work. Examples include walking, cycling, wheeling, sports, active recreation, and play – all can be done at any level of skill and for enjoyment. Either moderate (increased breathing, still able to talk) or vigorous (breathing faster, difficulty to talk) intensity activities count towards the amount of time you spend being physically active.

TOP TIP - You should be able to hold a conversation during moderate activity vs only being able to say a few words without pausing for breath during vigorous activity.

Examples of moderate activity include:

  • Walking to school or walking the dog
  • Playground activities, including jumping, running and catching
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Riding a bike

Examples of vigorous activity include:

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Riding a bike fast or on hills
  • Skipping
  • Aerobics

Physical activity guidelines for children and adults

Please click on the relevant boxes below to find out how much physical activity is recommended to improve health. The amount of time and type of activity is different for each age group as listed below: