News Blog How much is enough? It's a very interesting debate - how much physical activity is required to achieve or retain good health? It's a bit of a conundrum what to say in answer to this because the answer - at least according to the scientists and therefore the Chief Medical Officer - is not at all simple. And of course simple is pretty much what we need. Everyone knows how much fruit and veg you should eat to maintain good health - and it's a similar 'simple bite size chunk' of a message that's required for physical activity too. But so far we haven't managed this. Ok - let’s start with the science - then I'll give my view on why we need something different. The Chief Medical Officer tells us first that it depends on our age - which makes sense. They go on then to describe how the suitable lengths of time to be active might vary dependent on the intensity too - so if your physical activity is more intense clearly you don't need to be active for quite so long. And then they throw that extra curve ball into the equation - that strength and balance activities are also required especially as you get older. Blimey and to cap it all off they have now added into the equation the requirement not to sit down for extended periods. It's all a bit mind boggling isn't it? There are now actually specific guidelines for toddlers (under 5's - both babies and those that can walk), children 5-18yrs, adults 19-64yrs and over 65. If you're really interested I've copied the link here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-physical-activity-guidelines. But the point is that all this information and guidance is not making a jot of a difference - I wonder why? Here's a theory - call it my theory if you like - it's really just a thought having read quite a bit on the subject of exercise and physical activity. Essentially I think Homo sapiens have now developed from a time when physical activity was an essential element of life in order to be able to survive to the point where it is almost thought of as a luxury. Most of our thinking about physical exercise today lumps it into exercise - i.e. going to the gym, playing sport, going for a run, doing yoga, swimming etc. We are fast becoming what a professor in exercise and health I know would describe as 'exercise couch potatoes'. i.e. we are largely inactive and sedentary - at home, at work and while travelling but some of us occasionally have bouts of exertion to try to counter this. It's clearly a luxury as the evidence shows that with poverty comes great sloth and the greater likelihood that you will just be a 'couch potato'. Also, again as my professor in exercise and health would remind me, 'exercise couch potatoes' may only live slightly longer than 'couch potatoes'. Increased evidence from around the world suggests that exercise on its own is not that much more beneficial. Ok - I hear you say - what IS the answer? What should be the message/s be that we should remember and remind ourselves, our children and our ageing grandparents? It's simple really - try to sit less, move more and incorporate physical activity into your daily life. If you crack this not only will you improve your physical health - amongst others you'll be 40% less likely to contract diabetes and 35% less likely to suffer from cardio vascular disease - you will also improve your mental wellbeing and outlook on life. But I don't need to tell you this - you knew that anyway didn't you?