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Adults aged 19 to 64 should aim to be physically active every day[1].

The NHS recommends we do:

  • strengthening activities that work all major muscles in the body on at least 2 days a week

  • at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week

  • or at least 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week[1].

These guidelines are also suitable for disabled adults, pregnant women and new mothers[1].

The NHS website has more information about exercise for people living with a disability or long term health condition.

Find out more about exercising during and after pregnancy on the NHS website.

What are strengthening activities?

Some examples include:

  • yoga

  • pilates

  • lifting weights

  • heavy gardening, such as digging[1].

You can find a free exercise plan, Strength and Flex on the NHS website to get started.

What counts as moderate intensity exercise?

Some examples include:

  • brisk walking

  • cycling

  • dancing

  • mowing the lawn[1]

What counts as vigorous intensity exercise?

Some examples include:

  • jogging or running

  • swimming fast

  • aerobics

  • team sports like football, rugby and netball[1].

The NHS has developed a free running plan, Couch to 5K. The plan is suitable for everyone, including beginners[2]. This would count towards moderate and vigorous exercise, as you progress through the plan.


April 2021

Next review

April 2024

Reviewed by

Gill Stone MRPharmS


  1. 1.

    Exercise. Published April 26, 2018. Accessed March 1, 2021.
  2. 2.

    Get running with Couch to 5K. Published April 30, 2018. Accessed March 1, 2021.