Experts say that if exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented.
People who get active regularly have a lower risk of many serious diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite all this great news about exercise, we all move far less than people used to. In fact research suggests that lots of us spend more than seven hours a day sitting down.
Evidence is emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health.
So much so that inactivity is described by the Department of Health as ‘silent killer’.
Everyday examples of sedentary behaviour include using a computer, watching TV, using the car for short journeys and sitting down to read, talk or listen to music.
Too much of this is thought to increase your risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity.
To stay healthy, people aged between 19 and 64 years old should try to be active daily and aim to fit in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.
Moderate intensity activities include brisk walking, cycling, gardening, dancing, swimming and playing football in the park with the family.
Examples of vigorous activity include running or a game of singles tennis.
On top of this we should also carry out muscle strengthening activity such as exercising with weights, yoga or carrying heavy shopping at least two days per week.
Being active ourselves and persuading inactive people (those who do less than 30 minutes per week) to be more active is the best thing we can do for everyone’s health.
Doing just 10 minutes more activity each day can help us and those around us lead a healthier life.
As well as all the changes we make to what we eat and the amount of exercise we take, there are other factors that can impact on our health.