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Being Active

Commonly known as: exercise, being active, active, walking, running

Being Active

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Benefits of being active

The physical health benefits of being active are well known. Such as reducing the risk of developing a number of diseases including heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

But did you know that being active is also good for our minds? Being active releases chemicals in our brains which makes us feel good. Being active regularly can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Being active can also improve our mood, self-esteem and sleep. It can also give us a greater sense of wellbeing.

Being active outdoors can further increase those benefits, especially if you can exercise in ‘green space’ (such as in parks or where there is plenty of grass/trees/nature). Scientific studies have shown that ‘green exercise’ has many benefits for both our mental and physical health. It can also be a good way to connect with people as well as getting some vitamin D!

Being active releases feel good chemicals in our brain. This helps reduce stress and anxiety. Being active also improves energy levels, our mood and can help us to sleep better. Even making small/gradual changes to activity levels can have positive impacts on mental well-being.

National guidelines (see self-help resources below) advise that adults aged 19-64 should aim for:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week in periods of ten minutes or more OR
  • 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week OR
  • A combination of moderate and vigorous activity

For an inactive person the national guidelines may be too much initially.  In this case, they advise to start slowly and build up gradually.

There are national physical activity guidelines for children and young people with disabilities, physical activity for early years (birth to 5 years), physical activity for pregnant women, physical activity for children and young people (5-18 years), and physical activity benefits for adults and older adults. See self-help resources below


What can I do to be more active (self-help advice)?

  • Minimise the amount of time you spend sitting down and/or exercise whilst you are seated.
  • Be active every day. Some exercise is better than none. Just ten minutes at a time is beneficial.
  • The more active you are, and the more regularly you are active, the better you will feel.
  • If you are currently very inactive it is best to start slowly and build up your activity levels.
  • If possible, be active outside. Exercising in green spaces can further improve your mental health and wellbeing.
  • There are also benefits of swimming in cold and open water swimming. See the blog below.
  • It is also important to undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength, balance and stability (see national guidelines in self-help resources below).
  • Visit our resources page to download Five Ways to Wellbeing postcards/flashcards which provide tips on how to improve your physical activity.
  • Visit the in your area page for information on local places where you can be active: either by going on walks or taking part in organised physical activity. Such as your local parkrun, which is a free community event where you can walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate. See information below.

What might help me be more active (self-help resources)?

The NHS Couch to 5k programme is a running programme designed for absolute beginners with no prior running experience. NHS Couch to 5K on the App Store ( Android and iOS

Last updated: 18.07.2023

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Self-help resources for being active

Type Title Related to… Provider
Apps (iOS) Apps (iOS)

NHS Couch to 5K App (iOS)

Being Active mind
Apps (Android) Apps (Android)

NHS Couch to 5K App (Android)

Being Active mind
Websites Websites

Parkrun – a free community event where you can walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate

Being Active mind
Websites Websites

Welsh Government Physical Activity and Health Guidelines

Being Active mind
Websites Websites

National Physical Activity Guidelines | Physical Activity – Public Health Wales

Being Active mind
Reading Reading

Be Active Flashcard – Gwent Five Ways to Wellbeing

Being Active, Five Ways to Wellbeing mind
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