Recommended daily activity

It can be hard to be regularly active, with our busy lifestyles and work and family commitments. A lack of motivation can also making getting active challenging.

Thirty minutes a day of moderate activity is all it takes to enjoy improved health and wellbeing.

  • Adults should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least 5 days a week.
  • Older adults should be doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on 5 days or more per week, plus try to add 3 sessions of flexibility and balance activities, and 2 sessions of muscle-strengthening activities per week. Some of this can be combined such as hill walking can count towards aerobic and muscle-strengthening.
  • Children and young people should be kept busy with at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day.
  • Children under 5 should be encouraged to move every day.

The good news is you don’t have to do it all at once - when it comes to being active, every little bit counts. Research shows you can ‘snack’ on activity and still enjoy the benefits. Try 3 lots of 10 minutes if you can’t fit in a full half-hour at one time.

All ages should limit sedentary activity, and be as physically active as possible.

Increase the amount or intensity of your daily activity, for more health benefits or to lose weight.

Have a chat with your doctor or practice nurse before you start out if you are pregnant, have a medical condition or other health concerns.

Intensity makes a difference as well as the amount of time you spend

Activity intensity is how hard your body is working when being physically active. Intensity is split into three types: light, moderate and vigorous.

  • Light intensity includes common daily activities that take little effort but contribute to total daily energy expenditure.
  • Moderate intensity activity will cause a slight, but noticeable, increase in breath and heart rate. You can still carry on a conversation.
  • Vigorous intensity activity will get you puffed – you won’t be able to do these activities and chat at the same time.

Source: NZ Ministry of Health website.