Physical Activity

Regular exercise can be very effective at treating and preventing a wide range of health conditions.  Physical activity is activity that requires you to use more energy than when you are resting.  It can include activities such as walking or gardening. The aim is to reach a stage where you are slightly out of breath. Click  on the factsheets below to see how much physical activity should be done at different stages:-

Factsheet 1 - Physical activity guidelines for early years (under 5's) - for infants who are not yet walking

Factsheet 2 - Physical activity guidelines for early years (under 5's) - for children who are capable of walking

Factsheet 3 - Physical activity guidelines for children and young people (5-18 years)

Factsheet 4 - Physical activity guidelines for adults (19-64 years)

Factsheet 5 - Physical activity guidelines for older adults (65+ years)

The benefits of increasing physical activity

  • Exercise has been shown to either prevent or improve a number of different health conditions for adults, including high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease
  • Better mobility; joints, tendons and ligaments will be more flexible
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight by increasing your metabolism (the rate we burn calories)
  • Improved general mental wellbeing
  • Increased energy and endurance levels.

Additional benefits

Physical activity also makes people happier and more satisfied with life, as well as feeling better about themselves. For example, active people:

  • have an improved body image
  • have higher self-esteem
  • feel less anxious
  • sleep better

 It doesn’t have to be difficult to fit exercise into your daily life - here are some ideas to get you started:

  • walk to the shop, walk your children to school or go for a walk during your lunch hour
  • make it sociable – exercise as a family or with a friend, or join a club and meet some new friends
  • housework even counts towards your exercise from vacuuming to washing the car
  • make the most of the outdoors; walking, jogging, running or gardening - take your pick they’re all free
  • get on your bike, there are hundreds of cycle paths right across Wales, find one here
  • get some music on and dance! From dancing in your living room, ballroom in a local hall or joining a street dancing club. Find a class near you
  • are you a competitive person?  Why not challenge a friend to a game of squash or golf. Or if you are more of a team player why not join a local football or basketball team?

Keep a record of your exercise here:

Download Physical Activity Diary


National Exercise Referral Scheme

The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is a Welsh Government (WG) funded scheme which has been in development since 2006 to standardise exercise referral opportunities across all Local Authorities and Local Health Boards in Wales. The Scheme has been funded by WG working in partnership Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), Local Authorities, the Public Health Wales (PHW) and Local Health Boards. The scheme targets inactive clients who are at risk of developing chronic disease providing an opportunity for health professionals to refer clients into a high quality supervised exercise programme to improve health and wellbeing.

If you are inactive and think the scheme would be beneficial to you contact your GP to discuss further.

Change 4 life

Change 4 life supports adults and children in eating well, moving more and living longer. Click here to visit their website to find out more.

Wellbeing Podcasts

You can listen to Wellbeing podcasts on the Mental Health website by clicking on the related link, which is on the right hand side of this page.