Moving more - or active living - makes us feel good, whether it's going for a walk, a run, cycling, playing a sport, gardening or dancing.
Active living means participating in regular physical activity, sitting less and moving more. Together with healthy eating, doing all we can to move more can lower our risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, and help us to have a healthy bodyweight.
It's great for our health to discover an activity we enjoy and that suits our level of fitness - at the very least, one that helps us sit less!
Regular physical activity helps by:
- improving energy
- reducing stress
- improving posture and balance
- keeping bones and muscles strong, and joints flexible
- improving sleep and relaxation
- reducing the risks of heart disease, obesity, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and falls.
How intense does physical activity need to be?
An activity's intensity is about how hard the body is working.
- Light intensity activity includes common daily tasks that take little effort but still use up some energy.
- Moderate intensity activity causes a slight but noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate, but you can still carry on a conversation. Moderate activities include brisk walking, dancing or actively playing with children.
- Vigorous intensity activity makes you out of breath – you can't do these activities and chat at the same time. Vigorous activities include running, biking uphill, or playing sport.
People who have been inactive, or who have a health condition, should check with a health practitioner to find appropriate activities for them.
How much physical activity should you do?
Physical activity doesn't have to be done all at once - we can 'snack' on activity, doing it in bursts through the day.
The Ministry of Health recommends adults:
- be as active as possible
- put together at least 2½ hours of moderate, or 1¼ hours of vigorous, physical activity spread throughout the week.
Want more guidance? See the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Eating, Active Living advice booklet for adults.