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The estimated direct cost of physical inactivity to the NHS across the UK is £1.06 billion. This is based upon five conditions specifically linked to inactivity, namely coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colorectal cancer and breast cancer. This figure represents a conservative estimate.

Active Health: The Facts

Active Health

Inactivity also creates costs for the wider economy, through sickness absence and through the premature death of productive individuals. It also increases costs for individuals and for their carers. In England, the costs of lost productivity have been estimated at £5.5 billion per year from sickness absence and £1 billion per year from the premature death of people of working age.

Men 56% Women 56%

Men 57.1% Women 56.6%

Over half of all sedentary time outside of work is spent watching television. Weekdays

Weekend days

Percentage of sedentary time spent watching television

How much physical activity should an adult do? (19 - 64 yrs)

Adults should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more - one way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.


Firstly it is worth noting that all adults should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.

Active Health: The Facts

For adults, it is recommended to take 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of moderate intensity, aerobic physical activities. It is important that these are spread across the week to optimise the short-term benefits of aerobic physical activity. Sport and recreational activity included alongside everyday physical activity can provide important social benefits that help to sustain participation. Men 2.2 hours per week

Women 1.9 hours per week

Average hours of walking per week

Men and women spend more time walking than any other activity outside of work.

Muscle strengthening activities should be undertaken in addition to the 150 minutes of aerobics activity (moderate or vigorous intensity) on at least two days a week. They need to involve all the major muscle groups of the body: the legs, hips, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms. 306 miles

Since 1975/76, the average distance we travel by foot or bike in a year has fallen from 306 miles to 221 miles.

221 miles

1975/76 2010

Shorter sessions of physical activity offer an easier starting point for people who have been inactive for some time and for those who have busy lives and find it hard to prioritise activity. For people who have been inactive, it is important to allow the body time to adapt. Gradually progressing from shorter to more sustained sessions will increase an individual's fitness while reducing any potential risks.


Average distance travelled by foot or bike

Health specialists, fitness instructors and medical reports all talk about moderate intensity activity. How do you know if you are doing moderate intensity activity. People can tell when their activity is moderate intensity because they will breathe faster, experience an increase in heart rate and feel warmer. They may even sweat on hot or humid days. The amount of activity needed to reach this varies from one person to another. An unfit or overweight person may only have to walk up a slope, whereas a very fit athlete may be able to run quite fast before he or she notices these signs.

Over 70% of adults would like to do more physical activity; the most common barriers to this are work commitments and a lack of leisure time.

Men 45% say that work commitments get in the way

Active Health: The Facts

Moderate Intensity Activity

Women 37% say they don’t have enough leisure time

71% of men and 74% of women said they would like to do more physical activity

A large body of observational and experimental evidence indicates that regular physical activity reduces the risk of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, some cancers and depression, as well as bringing many positive benefits for psychological health and well-being.


Benefits of physical activity

Active Health: The Facts

500 400 300

Running (8mph) VIGOROUS

Running (7mph) VIGOROUS

Running (6mph) VIGOROUS

Tennis (Singles) VIGOROUS

Dancing, Slow Swim, VIGOROUS Cycling (12-14mph)

Walking (4mph), Mowing MODERATE & Cycling (10-12mph)

Golf Caddying, MODERATE Badminton/Tennis (dbles)


Decorating, Hoovering & Walking (3mph)




Ironing, Cleaning, Dusting LIGHT & Walking (2mph stroll)


Activities and their calorie benefits


*Kcal equivalent for a person of 60kg doing the activity for 30 minutes

Thank You To the British Heart Foundation ( for reference materials and info graphics. For more information or to learn exactly what they do and why, please visit their website.

We will be highlighting what we can do for you. Including how to start exercising and idea’s and ways you can implement them.


Next issue...

Active Health: The Facts


Thank You

Active Health Issue 1  

Active Middlesbrough new health magazine titled "Active Health". This first issue covers the basics of fitness and why it's important alon...

Active Health Issue 1  

Active Middlesbrough new health magazine titled "Active Health". This first issue covers the basics of fitness and why it's important alon...