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How much exercise should I do?

The NHS recommends an hour of physical exercise every day for the under 18s.

This should be a mixture of moderate and more vigorous exercise.

What is moderate exercise?

Moderate exercise is low level exercise like walking, cycling on flat ground, skipping, riding a scooter, walking the dog or walking to school. Moderate exercise raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate level is if you can still talk, but can’t sing the words to a song.

What is vigorous exercise?

Vigorous exercise is higher impact exercise like running, cycling, football, rugby, swimming, dancing, martial arts and many more. Vigorous exercise helps to improve your muscle and bone strength. This type of exercise also helps improve your mood and increases your self-esteem.

Vigorous activity makes you breathe fast and hard. You won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

Types of exercise

The best type of exercise includes some flexibility/stretching, aerobic and strength training. As aerobic exercise increases your heart and breathing rates, strength training works on strengthening muscles and improving co-ordination. Exercise involving flexibility and stretching reduces the likelihood of you picking up an injury.

Top tips for enjoying exercise

  • Pick something you enjoy
  • Work out whether you prefer to train alone or with a group
  • Look into the clubs offered after school, as some of these will probably be free
  • Search for gyms in your area; some might offer special, reduced price memberships for young people
  • Talk to your PE teacher in school for advice on what exercise you could be doing.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse using Chat Health.

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