Activity – never too little, never too late say experts

 By Dr Peter Smith OBE, Self Care Forum’s President


At last – good news for everyone!

For adults, even regular activity of less than 10 minutes at a time can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, improve your mental wellbeing and help you live longer say the UK’s top doctors[i].

And you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete or spend hours in the gym to achieve the benefits.


‘Some is good, more is better’

The message is ‘Start somewhere and build up when you can’.

They recommend regular moderate activity building up to 150 minutes a week. Sounds a lot until you realise that’s just 21 minutes a day.

They also say that even if you can’t reach this goal, any activity will help. Even better – if you aren’t doing much exercise at the moment, the benefits of little and often are even greater. Just start somewhere.


If you can talk but can’t sing, it’s moderate exercise

Moderate activity includes brisk walking, cycling and shopping (but not online!) so doesn’t have to cost anything. You don’t need to buy any special equipment, shoes or Lycra!

If you’re not sure what you’re doing is moderate activity, if you can talk whilst exercising but not sing, it’s moderate. Having difficulty talking without pausing is a sign of vigorous activity.


Just do something!

Doing nothing is dangerous.

Long periods of sitting down, whether at a desk, on social media or watching TV is risky even if you do regular exercise, so break up periods of sitting with a short period of light activity.

So the challenge is – can you switch your phone to airplane mode for 10 minutes twice a day and walk briskly to work, to the shops or round the block?

Or record a soap episode, go for a brisk walk and reward yourself with watching it knowing you’ve made your life longer and healthier?

One sports brand used to say ‘Just do it’.


The message is now:




From the Guidelines: