How much activity do adults need?

That depends on what you want to achieve. If your aim is to get super-fit and run the Belfast marathon, then obviously you’ll need to work pretty hard at it, but if you simply want to benefit your health and reduce your risk of developing health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, a relatively modest amount of activity can offer major benefits. Physical activity is also likely to prevent the development of vascular dementia.

To maintain good health

For good health, you need a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week (at least five days). You don’t have to do it all at once, it could be three sessions of 10 minutes or two of 15 minutes. So that could be a brisk 10 minute walk to and from work plus another 10 minute walk in your lunch break, or maybe a 15 minute walk to the shops and 15 minutes of enthusiastic vacuuming!

To lose weight

If you are trying to lose weight (or to keep the pounds off once you’ve lost them) you may need to do more than this – 60 to 90 minutes is recommended here. Again, it doesn’t have to be all in one go.

First, find out whether you really need to lose weight, and if so how much, with our handy Body Mass Index calculator. Then, check out how many extra calories you can burn up doing different types of activity with the calorie expenditure calculator. 

BMI calculator


Another way to check if you're a healthy weight is to find your Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is a scale that tells you whether your weight falls within the healthy range for your height.

Enter your height and weight into the calculator on the right to calculate your BMI.