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The Physical Activity Guidelines

Keeping active helps to keep us healthy from the inside out, with strong evidence suggesting that regular exercise:

  • Helps maintain a healthy body composition.
  • Helps improve heart, lung and muscle strength.
  • Improves overall fitness and helps reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Helps improve bone strength.

The National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland recommend that adults take part in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day, five days a week (or 150 minutes a week). Reassuringly, if time to exercise is an issue, shorter 10-minute bouts of activity can contribute towards the guidelines. If weight management is your goal, these guidelines need to be modified (see

Children and young people (aged 2-18 years) should be active for at least 60 minutes every day (at a moderate to vigorous level), and should include muscle-strengthening, flexibility and bone strengthening exercises three times per week.

Moderate Activity: Breathing and heart rate increases, but conversation can still be easily carried out. Participants feel warm and sweat slightly. Examples include: cycling, brisk walking, hiking, roller-blading.

Vigorous Activity: Breathing is heavy and it is difficult to carry out conversation. Heart rate and sweat rates are faster. Examples include: basketball, certain dance styles, football, running, hurling.