Skip to content

How much exercise do I need to do?

New physical activity guidelines were released in 2011 in a report from the Chief Medical Officer.

Please click for more information on each age category:



What about guidelines for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss?

Higher levels of activity might be needed.

  • 45-60 minutes daily of moderate activity is recommended for people who want to avoid gaining any more weight.
  • 60-90 minutes daily of moderate activity is recommended for people who want to actively lose weight.


Although these are the recommendations, it is important that you begin at a level that feels comfortable and safe for you.

Start with something that you find relatively easy and comfortable doing, no matter how small it may seem.

What is Moderate Activity?

‘Moderate exercise’ is not difficult. It is should raise your body temperature a little and leave you slightly out of breath, but you should still be able to hold a conversation with someone. This is a simple way of testing how intensely you are exercising, and is known as the talk test.

Moderate activity will vary depending on the person's fitness level. For example, walking a few yards might be moderate activity for someone who is very unfit, whereas someone else may need to briskly walk for 30 minutes.


Break up your activity

Fortunately, you don’t need to do the whole lot at once to get the benefits. Instead, the time can be built up cumulatively over the course of the day, for example – in 10 minute bouts of activity.

Count your steps


Source: Tudor-Locke C, Bassett DR (2004)

Another popular way to determine your activity level is to count the amount of steps that you take in an average day. Pedometers are simple and inexpensive devices to count steps, attaching your belt.

Modern research says that taking 10,000 steps indicates an active lifestyle – so get stepping!


Remember that the benefits of exercise will diminish as soon as you stop doing it regularly. Think of it as a lifestyle change which needs to be maintained.

If you are worried about increasing your levels of physical activity we recommend that you speak to your doctor.

Back to top