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 main navigation

How much physical activity to prescribe?

How much physical activity to prescribe?
5.1
So 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.
55.7
That 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.
109.2
Patient 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.
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.
This article is from the free online

Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education