To stay healthy or to improve health, adults need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and strength exercises.
There is good evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity.
In general, 75 minutes of vigorous activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate activity. For a moderate to vigorous workout, try Couch to 5K, a nine-week running plan for beginners.
To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you struggle to complete another repetition.
Try Strength and Flex, a 5-week exercise plan for beginners to improve your strength and flexibility. You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same day or on different days as your aerobic activity - whatever's best for you. Muscle-strengthening exercises are not an aerobic activity, so you'll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity.
Some vigorous activities count as both an aerobic activity and a muscle-strengthening activity. For a summary on the health benefits of being more active, check out this Department of Health infographic (PDF, 500kb). Losing weight - Getting startedDevelop healthier eating habits, be more active and get on track to start losing weight with our 12-week weight loss guide. Run by the external firm Weight Wins, these NHS weight loss schemes offer a variety of financial incentives for losing the weight. Weight Wins are already offering a diet programme to which anyone can sign up, for a monthly fee, and be rewarded for each pound they lose.
The scheme is currently being piloted in the Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust, however its apparent success means it could soon be rolled out across the country. However, if weight loss targets are not met, slimmers do not receive their financial rewards.
The scheme is aimed at those who are overweight, rather than those who are obese or those who would benefit from surgery. Dietitian Lyndel Costain BSc RD suggests that a€?whilst this scheme did show a positive outcome in the short-term, who knows how effective it would be in 2-5 years time, for example. However, recent publicity has seen this scheme come under heavy fire due to the increase in hospitals renting out space to fast food restaurants. 40 out of the UKa€™s 170 NHS Trusts have rented space to fast food restaurants with four more soon to follow.
But whilst photos appear of a woman on a drip ordering at a fast food counter in Cambridgea€™s Addenbrookes Hospital, the National Obesity Forum suggest that the message seems to be that the NHS is a€?effectively endorsinga€? fast food, not weight loss. It is certainly true that there is a huge disparity between the constant message for us to shape up and lose the pounds and the introduction of unhealthy eateries in the very places that monitor our health. A woman who has received ?23,000 worth of weight loss surgery on the NHS wants another taxpayer-funded procedure to reshape her breasts. Beckie Lawton, 44, who at her heaviest weighed 30 stone, had struggled with weight gain since childhood. After years of failed dieting and exercising, a desperate Miss Lawton turned to her GP for help and in 2012 was approved for a ?9,000 NHS operation to fit a gastric band. Thanks to the surgery, and dieting and exercising, the mother-of-two lost a dramatic 18 stone, leaving her with unsightly and uncomfortable excess skin.


Last month Miss Lawton, of Rugby, went under the knife again and had a tummy tuck on the NHS to the tune of ?14,000.
Miss Lawton said: “I know it is controversial to get weight loss surgery on the NHS, but people have to understand that patients who need a gastric band have usually struggled with their weight all their lives. Miss Lawton, a supermarket warehouse worker, is now recovering from her tummy tuck surgery which required nearly 200 stitches. She is currently applying to the NHS for funding for an operation to raise and reshape her breasts which have sagged since her dramatic weight loss. Miss Lawton said: “I have to wait to recover from my tummy tuck surgery so it will probably be around eight months before I can have any more surgery. Miss Lawton, who has two children Sophie, 21, and Jessica, 16, always struggled with her weight but she her weight increase further as her marriage began to break down in 2007.
Years of comfort eating meant she felt she had to hide her hulking frame under size 32 clothing. As soon as she recovered from her gastric band surgery Miss Lawton began a gruelling exercise regime which included daily floor exercises, power-walking, and using an exercise bike at home. She kept her diet in check by swapping crisps, sweets and spaghetti bolognese for lean meat, fresh vegetables and fruit. Sell a true life story to a newspaper or magazine todayWe can sell your stories to the national press, with great financial incentives.
Find out why the 12-week programme is such a hit from people who have successfully lost weight.
Use the search box above to look up the calories of more than 150,000 different foods and drinks quickly and simply. Online calorie counters are one of the easiest ways to track your calories if you're following the NHS Choices weight loss plan.
Use the calorie checker to tot up your day's calorie intake and add it to your food and activity chart (view sample PDF, 545kb). Your daily calorie allowance on the NHS Choices weight loss plan is 1,900kcal for men and 1,400kcal for women.
If you want a more personal recommended calorie intake tailored to your individual circumstances, use the BMI calculator. It's also a good idea to get used to reading food labels to find out the calorie content in packaged food and drink. If you're looking for calorie-counted recipe ideas, you can choose from a selection of vetted recipe apps from our Health Apps library.
Here are some practical examples to show you how to work out the calorie content of your meals, snacks and drinks. If you're grabbing lunch on the go, it will often consist of a number of packaged foods, perhaps accompanied by a piece of fruit.
Simply use food labels and an online calorie counter to find out the calorie content of each part of your lunch. Buying food from your work canteen or a cafe can make it harder to work out calories. Some cafes and restaurants have calorie labelling in-store, on their menus or online. When cooking from scratch, you can work out the total calories by adding up the calorie content of each ingredient. You'll need to use food labels, kitchen scales to weigh ingredients, and an online calorie counter. The bolognese sauce contains lean beef mince, onions, chopped tomatoes, carrots, vegetable stock, olive oil, and herbs and spices.


280g of dried wholewheat spaghetti – the packet tells you that 100g of dried spaghetti contains 348kcal (1,454kJ). The total calorie content of this recipe is 975 + 342 + 192 + 55 + 70 + 119 = 1,753kcal (7,327kJ). One way to tell if you're working at a moderate level is if you can still talk, but you can't sing the words to a song. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. Patients enrolled on the scheme could earn anything up to A?1800 for shedding the pounds, but with the increase of hospital fast food outlets this weight loss scheme is already under fire. A new NHS weight loss scheme does just that - patients get paid up to A?1800 to lose weight.
Anything from A?200 for losing two stone in five months, to almost A?1800 for dropping 10 stone in 21 months! However, if they fail to register a loss, they could end up just losing pounds from their pockets. The Primary Care Trust pays A?185 for every person who enrols in the scheme, and all pay outs are covered by Weight Wins. Patients must also show that they can maintain their new weight and not put the pounds back on! There are around 400 places on the programme which is heavily over subscribed with around 2000 applicants! The Journal of the American Medical Association carried out a 16-week trial to see whether those who were motivated by a financial incentive were more likely to lose the weight.
Like all weight loss approaches, there will be a subset for whom this works well, but not for all or even the majority. Pop to your local NHS Hospital and you might well be able to pick-up a Burger King along with your prescription! Critics say this runs contrary to bids to tackle the ever rising presence of obesity and obesity-related diseases in the UK.
Use your WLR Food Diary to see how many calories you need per day to get to your weight loss goal. I can wear clothes from nice shops and for the first time I can wear a dress without feeling embarrassed. More than 600 people in Britain have taken part in these schemes, and research shows that the financial incentive is far more attractive to men than women, who are more motivated by the thought of getting into that summer holiday bikini!
This radical scheme is a bid to save the NHS money on weight related surgery and obesity-related diseases in the long-run, which is currently costing the NHS billions. Findings showed that those groups motivated by the prospect of a financial reward were significantly more successful than the control group who were offered no monetary reward. Furthermore, fast food is full of fat and salt, and something that healthy slimmers tend to avoid.




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