Key messages:

Any movement is better than no movement.

The more you do, the greater the benefit.

It's never too late to start.


Start Small and Build on Success

Although the recommended amount of activity is about 30 minutes or more 5 days per week, even 5-10 minutes a few days a week of brisk walking, jogging, dancing, gardening or anything else that feels good is a great start. Starting small and building on success will help build confidence.

Click on the tabs below for more information on types of physical activity and the benefits that they bring:

There are some huge benefits from getting more active. Not only will you feel good, but you’ll also massively increase your chance of living a longer, healthier life. Check out the impact that getting more active can have in the infographic below.

Regular physical activity reduces your risk of dementia, hip fractures, depression, breast cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality.

To summarise, getting more active has huge benefits. Does that mean I have to join a gym? The answer is no, although you may be able to get discounted gym membership and/or free personal trainer sessions through your practice’s health coach or social prescriber.

In reality, moderate physical activity (the kind that gets your heart beating faster) can include any of the ones shown in the image below.

Walking, gardening, hiking, dancing, cycling, active recreation and swimming.

Why not try out the NHS Fitness Studio? It’s got an amazing collection of fitness videos, strength training, yoga and pilates exercises which you can do from the comfort of your own home.

As you get older it also becomes more important to do some muscle strengthening exercises. This will keep your muscles in good shape, so you remain independent for longer and avoid falls. Most adults from the age of 50 upwards will really benefit from doing this.

This could include exercising with some weights (you could start with two cans of beans or filled water bottles), yoga or carrying heavy shopping.

Check out this simple set of exercises which are proven to improve muscle strength and reduce your risk of falls 

Speak to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before you start these exercises if you have any heart condition or high blood pressure.

Spend 20 minutes doing these exercises 3-4 times a week - sit to stand, mini squats, calf raises, leg extension, sideways leg lift, biceps curl, wall press-up

How To Start?

How about killing two birds with one stone, and meeting up with friends and getting active at the same time?

Getting active in the way that’s right for you, and planning how you’ll keep going is key.

The rise of Walking Football in London is helping many rekindle an old passion. Find your nearest club here.

Swimming is non-weight bearing, so easy on the joints. Find a pool you like near you, on the fantastic Playfinder website.

Visit your free park gym, or find a pay as you go or low-cost gym. Many offer classes for all fitness levels. An excellent way to try one out is to see if it offers free gym passes or introductory visits

Our Parks provide free classes in your local park. Visit their website to find out the park activity closest to you.

If pain or disability limits your activity levels, an Exercise On Referral programme might be an option. These programmes often give you discounted memberships and specialised instructors.

Call or message some friends and family today and ask them to get active with you.

Your practice’s health coach or social prescriber may be able to give you some support in getting going if you need it. They’ll be able to point you to locally available resources and may also have access to discounted gym membership or free health training sessions. Why not start by making an appointment with them?

Apps that can help you get going

The Couch to 5k and the Active 10 apps are great for getting going and will guide you through your first steps and beyond. Alternatively you can check out the NHS Choices website for more information:

Active 10

The Active 10 app anonymously records every minute of walking you do. Just pop your phone in your pocket and away you go!

The app:

  • tracks your steps
  • helps you set goals
  • shows you your achievements
  • gives you tips to boost your activity

Did you know walking briskly, even for 1 minute, counts as exercise? What are you waiting for - take your first steps today!

Couch to 5K

A running programme for absolute beginners, Couch to 5K has helped millions of people like you start running.

The app:

  • has a choice of 5 trainers to motivate you
  • works with your music player
  • tracks your runs
  • connects you with other Couch to 5K runners

Couch to 5K can be completed in as little as 9 weeks, or longer if you want to go at your own pace.