Exercise

Exercise for under 5's

Physical activity should be encouraged from birth particularly through floor-based play and water based activities. All under 5's should minimise the amount of time spent sitting down or restrained for extended periods of time (except time spent sleeping). This may include, reduced time in carriers, baby bouncers and time spent in front of TV or other screens.

Examples of physical activity for infants not yet walking may include:
- Tummy Time (rolling and playing on the floor)
- Reaching for and grasping objects (pulling, pushing and playing with others)
- Parent and baby swim sessions

The benefits of movement for infants are:
- Develops motor skills
- Improves cognitive development
- Contributes to a healthy weight
- Enhance bone and muscular development
- Support learning of social skills

Exercise for young people (5-18 years)

All children and young people should engage in moderate to vigorous intensity activity for at leat 60 minutes a day. Three of these days should include strengthening muscle and bones. They should also minimise the amount of time spent sitting down or restrained for extended periods of time. This may include, reduced time in front of the TV or other screens (video games), walking/ cycling to places rather than taking bus or car.

Examples of exercise for Children may include:
- Moderate intensity activities (bike riding or playground activities)
- Vigorous intensity activities (Fast running, sports such as swimming or football)
- Activities to strengthen muscles and bones (swinging on playground equipment, hopping and skipping or sports such as gymnastics or tennis)

What are the benefits of being active for at least 60 minutes each day?
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Maintains a healthy weight
- Improves bone health
- Improves self-confidence
- Develops new social skills

Exercise for Adults (19-64 years)

Adults should aim to be active daily, which should add up to 150 minutes (2.5 hours) a week. Two of these days should be spent increasing muscle strength. As the rule applies for infants and children, adults should also minimise the amount of time spent sitting down for extended periods. This can include reduced time in front of the TV or even swap a long bus or car journey for walking part of the way.

Examples of exercise for adults may include:
- Moderate intensity activities (brisk walking or cycling)
- Vigorous intensity activities (running, sports such as swimming or football)
- Activities to strengthen muscles (Weights, carrying or moving heavy loads such as groceries)

The benefits of being active:
- Reduces risk of a range of diseases, e.g. coronary heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes
- maintain healthy weight
- Improves self-esteem
- Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety

Exercise for Older Adults (65+ years)

Older adults who participate in any amount of activity gain some health benefits. They should aim to be active daily, which should add up to 150 minutes (2.5 hours) a week. Two of these days should be spent increasing muscle strength. They too should also minimise the amount of time spent sitting down for extended periods. This can include reduced time in front of the TV or even swap a long bus or car journey for walking part of the way.

Examples of exercise for Older adults may include:
- Moderate intensity activities (brisk walking or ballroom dancing)
- Vigorous intensity activities (climbing stairs or running)
- Activities to strengthen muscles (carrying groceries, dancing or chair aerobics)
- Activities to improve balance and co-ordination (Tai chi or yoga)

What are the benefits of being active daily?
- Helps maintain cognitive function
- Reduces cardiovascular risk
- Helps maintain ability to carry out daily living activities
- Improves mood and can improve self‐esteem
- Reduces the risk of falls