In part 1 of eat smart move more we shared the key tips around nutrition and how focusing on some key aspects can not only make a huge difference to your health, but also set up the mindset of our future generations. As well as sharing some myth busters with you, we also shared the statistics and facts on how our nutrition and exercise habits are having an impact on obesity rates. So if you’ve come from there we hope you enjoyed it, and if you haven’t yet checked it out go and take a look now to complete the eat smart and move more series.

Today we are going to look at the other side of things: Moving more. As Nike famously say “Just Do It”! So many of us procrastinate when it comes to doing exercise (We can certainly be guilty of this if we are having one of those days) but if we can adopt the approach of “Just Do It” not only would we experience the benefits, we would also get the urge to keep doing more.

So let us cover how we can get going with moving more, the benefits that we can expect to see and exactly what we can do. Let’s start with understanding what we mean by moving more: Quite simply we need to get out bodies moving (this could be something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the lift) and burn some calories. In order for you to maintain a healthy weight you need to ensure that the calories you consume do not exceed the calories that you burn, we find that this is always a good basis to work from.

First things first

It is recommended by WHO (World Health Organisation) that “Adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.”

(It is important to note that these recommendations are based on adults with no underlying health issues)

Before you read on, let’s just stop here for a moment and process this as there’s a lot of information in that. Firstly, you can make up those totals in whatever way works best for you, so for example, you could make up the 150 minutes with 5 sessions of 30 minutes throughout the week. Straight away when you look at it like that it feels more realistic doesn’t it. We know that if we only have to complete short workouts we are much more likely to do them than to think we have to set aside masses of time, which, especially since having a little one, can be really difficult. There is also a lot of talk in there about intensity…. We will get to that!

Before we move on, we just want to include the recommendations for children in here too. We expressed our passion in part 1 of eat smart move more for creating good habits for future generations, and whilst you may not all be parents who are reading this, some of you will be, and some may also have an influence e.g when babysitting. So let’s think about how we can all make a difference.

eat smart move more

Recommendations by WHO:

  • Children and youth aged 5–17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
  • Amounts of physical activity greater than 60 minutes provide additional health benefits.
  • Most of the daily physical activity should be aerobic. Vigorous-intensity activities should be incorporated, including those that strengthen muscle and bone*, at least 3 times per week.

We will share some examples of the types of exercise for each intensity level, and will also give you some key ways that you can include the children in this.

Let’s take a quick (but very important) look at the benefits we can expect to see as a result of following these recommendations.

Benefits for adults

  • Easier to maintain a healthy weight and have good body composition.
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, several types of cancer and many more.
  • Improved sense of well-being and self-confidence.
  • Improved bone density.
  • Better balance.
  • Helps with maintaining good mental health

Benefits for children

  • Maintain a healthy body weight from an early age.
  • Sets up good habits around exercise to carry through to adult life.
  • Develop a strong cardiovascular fitness level which includes the heart and lungs.
  • Develops good muscle and bone strength.
  • Promotes motor skills such as coordination.
  • Can provide a sense of belonging (e.g if involved in a club or group sport), and can be a great way to interact.

It’s all about the intensity

So as we can see in the recommendations, there is a lot of focus on the intensity that we are exercising at, but how do you know if you are working at the right level? We will give you an idea of some of the exercises that fall in to each category, but obviously it will very much depend on your current fitness level. A great way to understand if you are working at the correct intensity better is to understand your heart rate zones and targets.

Moderate intensity activity

The best way to think of moderate activity is to think about doing something that will raise your heart rate, make you feel a little warmer and increase your breathing. You should however still find that you can hold a conversation whilst doing this.

Examples of activities include:

  • Walking (This may need to be at a brisk pace, but again will depend on your fitness)
  • Cycling
  • Tennis (This would tend to be doubles)
  • Gardening
  • Dancing

These all apply to children and are all easy for them to partake in. Another good one to include in there could be a game of throw and catch.

Vigorous intensity activity

The best way to think of Vigorous activity would be something that makes you breathe hard and fast and possibly sweat. Whereas if you were working at a moderate level you would be able to hold a conversation, this isn’t the case if you are working vigorously, and you may find you can say no more than a few words without needing to pause for a moment.

Examples of vigorous activities:

  • Any of the moderate exercises, but with increased intensity
  • Sports such as football, rugby, netball and hockey
  • Skipping
  • Aerobics
  • Martial arts
  • Singles tennis

Again, these all apply and are appropriate for children. Some other examples would be anything that includes running and chasing such as a game of tag. You could even bring out your inner child and join them on this!

Should I try to work at a moderate level or vigorous level?

This is your choice and comes down to your abilities and fitness level. Completing any one of them whilst following the timing guidelines will produce very similar results in terms of health benefits, so our suggestion would be to go with the activities that you enjoy the most and you are able to complete. Remember, this is about lifestyle, not a short term health and fitness goal. Ultimately you need to be the judge as to what intensity you are working at, but if you follow the descriptions this will help to give you a good idea as to if you are at the correct rate.

Develop muscle and bone strength

Part of your exercise time can be made up of exercises to strengthen your muscles and bones. It is actually recommended that you complete these exercises 3 times per week. So you can see how a nice routine can start to form from the exercises above and these type of exercises in order to achieve your minutes required each week.

To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you need a short rest before repeating the exercise. Judge your intensity level based on the descriptions above.

Many people think that in order to do these type of exercises you need to be able to have access to the gym, but the beauty is that that can be completed at home too.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities:

  • Exercises that use your own body weight, such as squats, press-ups, sit ups etc
  • Exercises using resistance bands
  • Weight lifting
  • Heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling
  • Lifting and carrying children (we can definitely vouch for this!)

For children, exercises that are great to support their bone and muscle development include:

  • Games such as tug of war
  • Hopping, skipping, jumping
  • Climbing on playground equipment
  • Games such as hopscotch

Do a little more every day

We appreciate that you may be reading this and for whatever reason, but it illness, fitness level, weight, injury, you may be thinking that you are not yet in a position where you are able to complete the above recommendations. If that is the case then there is nothing to worry about, our recommendation would be for you to take the approach of doing a little more every day, and perhaps having those guidelines as something you can work up towards.

Examples of doing a little more each day include:

  • Sitting less
  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift
  • Walking if possible instead of taking the car or bus

eat smart move more

It’s too good not to do

So hopefully we have outlined the key ways that you can move more and ensure you are following the recommendations set out for us all to work towards. It cannot be denied that the benefits definitely outweighs the urge to not do anything, so let’s take the Nike approach and let’s fly towards a healthier and fitter version of us… Just Do It!

We would love to hear if you have any other ways that you ensure you meet the recommendations, and as always, if you have any questions then please do not hesitate to get in touch,

Here’s to a happier, healthier and fitter world!

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  1. I remember reading that once. For me, it’s easier to split those 150 minutes into shorter sessions throughout the week. I used to do a combination of swimming, biking, jumping rope, jogging, etc. I must confess I’m not a fan of working out, but I understand the health benefits for us.

    I canceled my gym membership during the pandemic since my gym was still charging us even though it was closed for two months. Instead of looking for another gym, I’d like to start working out at home. Do you have any pointers?

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Enrique, 

      It sounds like you have great experience of giving all short of workouts a go and finding what works for you. We also think a lot of people can relate to not enjoying it but doing it for the benefits. When we understand what we can gain from something it definitely helps us to follow it through we think.

      Many people, like you, have also started working out from home. Check out our article on exercise during coronavirus for some ideas on exercising from home. We hope you find it useful:


  2. Hello dear, thanks for sharing such exclusive concise information with us, I believe these article has been helpful to me, I was actually doing some research online when I saw your post, thanks alot for these healthy content you shared with us, I already saved this post so as to come back for future reference, thanks for the info, I’ll surely do some recommendations

    1. Hi, it is great to hear that you have found the article useful and will be able to apply some of the tips we have shared.

  3. You gave stats for children and adults. I would have also love to see stats for youths. I use to exercise on a daily basis but I stopped due to laziness. I am about to begin again as I always read that it has lots of benefits so I really have to keep that habit of mine going. I normally only jog and don’t really do any other exercises that much. Do you think this is ok or should I add other exercise activities to it?

    1. The recommendations given by The World Health Organisation class adults as 18-64, and puts children and youth together for 5-17 year olds. 

      It is great to hear that you are thinking of getting started again. 

      Personally I think getting as much variety in to your routine as possible is always beneficial, but this could always be over time instead of within the week. I think however, that it is important to find something that you can continue, therefore, if running is that activity for you then there is something to be said for that being your staple exercise, as doing that and only that is far better than doing nothing.

  4. In this day and time, it is so important that we promote both physically and mentally because this will only help us to live a happier life. So many people are not living a good life because of poor choices when they can make the right choice by working towards a better physical and mental state of well being and what we must also look at is preparing the way for the next generation to follow. We are what we eat which can have a major impact on us both mentally and physically so lets do all that we can in promoting our health.

    1. Hi Norman, we certainly agree with everything you are saying.

      So many make poor choices, and if we can look at the reasons behind that hopefully it can be of help to them. We hope that is what our articles are helping with.

      We love the saying “You are what you eat”, how very true!

  5. Hi Adam and Emma

    Yes, when I broke down my exercise requirements into shorter, regular sessions, I found that I was more likely to complete an activity every day. I put less pressure on myself, as a 30 or 40 minute workout was a more manageable target. Plus, when some activities are less enjoyable than others, 30 minutes isn’t really that long to have to endure!

    1. Hi, this is so true, and I can absolutely relate to using the approach for activities that you feel are less enjoyable, such a good tip!

  6. One of the things I consider most important in life is good health and I believe to attain that, one must be consuming good and nutritious foods. Which is why I don’t compromise much on my diet. However, I must say that this post has been most helpful as I’ve come to learn that physical activities are also essential for great health. 

    1. Hi, you are so right! And I think our nutrition is something we can easily neglect. If you can get a balance across the two: Exercise and Nutrition that really is the best possible way to look after yourself. 

  7. Well, this is very motivational to be candid. I wasn’t expecting anyone to get such a wonderful write up here but honestly I am totally blown away. It’s a good thing to be able to understand how fitness works generally from your post. This is very good. Thanks for the insightful eye opener.

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