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Physical activity

We all need to be active!

Being active helps our health in many ways – giving us more energy, improving posture and balance, making our bones and muscles stronger, letting us sleep better and reducing the risk for many conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers.

Adults are advised to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. For children and young people the aim is to do 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.

Everyone should be conscious of how long they sit for in front of the computer or television. This is sedentary behaviour, the opposite of physical activity. We are all advised to reduce our screen time, for children this means spending less than two hours (outside school hours) in front of the television, computer or game consol.

An easy way to get moving is by adding more activity into everyday life - go for a walk at lunch time, take the stairs rather than the lift, walk or bike to the local shops, school or work.

Try to gradually increase your activity. Over time you will find your fitness improves and you can do more than when you first started. Moderate to vigorous exercise means an increased heart rate and some ‘huffing and puffing’ so if you haven’t been active for a while you will need to work up to this level.

    Getting active doesn’t need to be a chore - find something you enjoy. Joining a club or finding someone to exercise with can really help and motivate you. Here are some activity ideas:

    • Group fitness classes - there is something for everyone, from yoga and pilates to boxing.
    • Dancing - This is a fun way to burn lots of energy. Try rock ‘n roll, salsa, jazz, ballroom or even belly dancing!
    • Skipping - This can be done in the privacy of your own home, but make sure to move all the breakables out of the way
    • Indoor sports are growing in popularity and include squash, netball, cricket and soccer.
    • Get outdoors with golf, tramping and orienteering.
    • Swimming, aqua-jogging and aqua-aerobics are a great low impact option
    • Check out your local recreation or leisure centre or sports club.
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