As a minimum, the NHS recommends that adults undertake 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, plus two strength workouts, every week.
There, now you know more than 85% of the British public about the amount of activity you should be doing each week. Try and remember it, because the stats from a new YouGov survey on 2,014 UK adults – undertaken on behalf of Simplyhealth – are alarming. Just 31% of people knew about the aerobic activity guidelines, while a mere 15% knew about the strength workouts.
You can opt for a mix of vigorous and moderate activity to hit your weekly aerobic target. While cycling and fast walking count as moderate, running or tennis are considered vigorous, so each minute spent doing one of those activities counts double towards your weekly goal.
When it comes to strength exercises you’re looking for a session that hits all the major muscle groups – your legs, hips, back, core, chest, shoulders and arms. That can be lifting weights, working out with resistance bands, bodyweight exercises like press-ups and chin-ups, yoga or Pilates, or even “heavy gardening”. That means digging or mowing the lawn rather than standing in one place with a hose.
The NHS goes further in its recommendations for strength workouts by suggesting you should do at least one set of eight to 12 reps with each exercise. If you’re looking for some inspiration for full-body workouts, we’ve got you covered whether you want to use resistance bands, free weights or bodyweight exercises.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.