Understanding Exercise & Activity

What is Exercise?

Exercise is anything that gets you moving and using your body. It can be anything you enjoy that might raise your heart rate and/or make you breathe a little harder. Exercise does not just mean going to the gym or doing sport.

Why Should I Exercise?

Exercise has a lot of benefits for our Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing. It is one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves. Exercise can help reduce our risk of developing cancers, heart disease, mental health conditions, and help us live longer happier lives.

The short video below discusses the broad range of benefits to health, life expectancy, and quality of life from exercise.

Please be aware this video may have adverts before or during its runtime.

Resistance exercise is great at helping manage many conditions including:




Low Back Pain


Pulmonary Disorders



Mental Health

High Blood Pressure


Peripheral Vascular Disease

Falls Risk



Cardiovascular Disease


Movement Disorders

What Should I Feel When I Exercise?

It is normal and okay to feel some discomfort while you are exercising and afterwards. If this soreness lasts for more than 24 hours, wait for the symptoms to settle and then try an easier version of the exercise. For most people you do not need to be in pain for exercise to be effective.

How Much and What Exercise Should I Do?

You should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise a week. These include walking, running, swimming, climbing stairs, sport, cycling and much more.

You should do something to improve your balance at least 2x a week. This includes dance, bowls, Tai Chi, Yoga, and much more.

You should do strength exercises at least 2x a week to keep your muscles, bones, and joints strong. This includes carrying heavy bags, Pilates, weight lifting, and more.

What Help is There for Me to Get Active?

It is often difficult to know where to start when it comes to exercise. We have collected a number of resources below to help you get active.

The Cuppa Routine
A video series of exercises you can do in the time it takes the kettle to boil. Please be aware this video may have adverts before or during its runtime.

Improve Your Balance in Five Minutes
An exercise video to help improve your balance in just five minutes.

NHS Fitness Studio
NHS Live Well – Fitness Studio has a range of fitness and activity support information and videos.

Age UK
Here you will find general advice, where to start, and how to become more active as well as links to local groups.

Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease
The Walk With Ease program is offered as a self-guided course or in a community setting. Choose the format that suits you best.

CSP Love Activity, Hate Exercise
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapist’s campaign offers help with being active with a long-term condition, getting started with exercise, and advice on getting inspired.