Physical Activity

Being more active is one of the most important things that we can do for our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Being active helps maintain a healthy weight and manage the stress of daily life, and can help prevent a range of diseases from heart disease to dementia to several types of cancer.

It’s also vital for healthy growth and development in children, as well as for keeping well and independent as we age.

For many people it can be formal exercise or playing a sport, but being more active in our daily lives can make a big difference to our health. Simple things like walking the dog, taking the stairs, getting off the bus a stop early, it all counts.

How much physical activity should I be doing?

The most important thing to remember is that some activity is better than none and doing any physical activity is good for you.

There are national guidelines which recommend at least 60 minutes a day for children and at least 30 minutes a day for adults.

But you can gradually build up to this. 

Short bouts count, so you can get started with 10 minutes at a time and spread it through the week.

Choose activities that are appropriate to your level of ability - if you are older or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor about what sort of activity you are able to do.

For more information and ideas on how to get started

The Get Ireland Active website is maintained by the HSE and has been developed as a ‘one stop shop’ for physical activity with information and links to resources including sports and recreation facilities around the country.

Sport Ireland is the national body for the sustainable development of competitive and recreational sport in Ireland. Lots of information here about various participation and inclusion programmes, including for children and adults with a disability

Get Ireland Walking is a national partnership initiative that aims to maximise the number of people participating in walking - for health, wellbeing and fitness - throughout Ireland. You can find out more about walking groups and programmes in your area.

RTE’s Operation Transformation series supports and encourages people all over the country to achieve a healthier weight, get moving and eat well. You will find food and fitness plans, as well as lots of motivation and encouragement and ideas how to get yourself, your community or your work-place involved.

parkrun organise free, weekly, timed runs at locations across the country.  They are open to everyone and you can walk, jog or run. They also organise junior parkruns, a series of 2k runs for children aged between 4 and 14, at a number of locations.

Active School Flag is a Department of Education and Skills initiative supported by Healthy Ireland. It aims to support schools to achieve a physically active school community.

Ireland Active represents a range of organisations in the fitness and leisure sector, including local authority leisure centres, to support more people to be more active more often.

The Federation of Irish Sport is the representative organisation for the National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Sports Partnerships  in Ireland.

The Aldi Community Games works with Sport Ireland, the HSE and other partners to provide opportunities for children and young people to participate in sporting and cultural activities in communities around the country.

Key Publication

National Physical Activity Plan

The Departments of Health and Transport, Tourism and Sport, in partnership with a range of stakeholders, have developed a National Physical Activity Plan.  The aim of this plan is to encourage greater participation by everybody in physical activity and to create awareness of how important it is for all of us individually and for society generally.

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