Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsSo what is the most effective exercise prescription for health? How long will it take? How intense should it be? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to these questions. The ideal exercise prescription for health is likely one which is developed especially for an individual, and takes their medical history, risk factors, preferences, goals, environment, skill, and ability into account. The evidence has shown that in general more exercise is better, and any exercise is better than none. For example, achieving 200 minutes of moderate activity a week is better than 150 minutes. Similarly, achieving 20 minutes a week is better than 10. We also know that the relationship between intensity of physical activity and mortality is linear.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 secondsThat means that engaging in vigorous intensity exercise for 10 minutes is better than engaging in moderate intensity exercise for 10 minutes. If in doubt, the following public physical activity recommendations is a good place to start or aspire to reach. If maintained, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week should enable you to realise most of the health benefits detailed in the previous video. We will discuss specific clinical conditions in more detail later in the MOOC. For now, you can be confident in your knowledge that the evidence on the effectiveness of regular physical activity at preventing both primary and secondary disease, as well as premature death, is irrefutable. This applies to all ages and includes people with disabilities.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 secondsPatient populations are often deconditioned and may find it hard to adopt an active lifestyle. However, keep in mind that the most significant health improvements are seen when people who are unfit and sedentary become active.

How much physical activity to prescribe?

As Cuisle explains in this video, the ideal exercise prescription for health is most likely one which is developed especially for an individual and takes their medical history, risk factors, preferences, goals, environment, skill and ability into account.

In the next step, we talk to Mr Kenna, a patient who has been prescribed exercise as a treatment for oesophageal cancer, and we will explore how he responded to an individualised exercise prescription programme.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease

Trinity College Dublin

Contact FutureLearn for Support