Lifestyle Info

Physical Activity


Headline benefits

Being physically active helps maintain physical and mental wellbeing, and prevents disease. It can reduce the risk of many chronic conditions, like coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health problems and musculoskeletal conditions. It is the “wonder drug” the NHS would like to prescribe to all. WHO figures show that physical inactivity accounts for an estimated 9% of premature mortality. The Benefit from Activity website provides comprehensive information for patients on the wide ranging benefits of being active, and the Motivate2Move resource is an excellent reference point for health professionals in relation to physical activity.

The recommendations

The Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations indicate that adults should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more, and everyone should minimise the amount of time spent sitting or being inactive.

Current situation

Data from the National Survey for Wales in 2017 suggests that currently in Wales 54% of the population meet these levels, but 30% are still inactive – completing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week.  Health Improvement is working with national stakeholders to establish a set of indicators using data from the new National Survey to monitor changes going forward. 

What is Physical Activity Costing?

NHS Wales - PHW Physical Activity (Wales).pdf

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board - PHW Physical Activity (ABMUHB).pdf

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board  - PHW Physical Activity (ABUHB).pdf

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board - PHW Physical Activity (BCUHB).pdf

Cwm Taf University Health Board - PHW Physical Activity (CTUHB).pdf

Cardiff & Vale University Health Board - PHW Physical Activity (CVUHB).pdf

Hywel Dda University Health Board - PHW Physical Activity (HDdUHB).pdf

Powys Teaching Health Board - PHW Physical Activity (PTHB).pdf


The National Exercise Referral Scheme led by Health Improvement and delivered by WLGA, is effective at increasing activity levels for more specialist population groups, such as those with high blood pressure or diabetes.

Physical activity for pregnant women

Adult InfoG English.pdf