Physical activity is a basic physiological need. But modern life often means that we don't get enough exercise. We spend a lot of time sitting down and don't walk enough. From now on, try to make exercise part of your everyday life. It's worth it, as people who get a lot of exercise remain less vulnerable to illness into old age and simply feel better.

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Being physically active has numerous benefits, such as improving your health and strengthening your immune system. Physical activity makes you feel happy and gives you a greater sense of self-worth. You sleep better, are not as stressed and your performance improves.

Take the first step towards a healthier life by integrating more exercise into your daily routine. This is easy to do, doesn't involve too much effort and has lots of benefits. It's simply a question of changing certain habits.

  • Take the stairs rather than the lift or escalator.
  • Walk or cycle short distances.
  • Get off the bus or tram one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Make phone calls and hold short meetings standing up.
  • Take an exercise break at work now and then.
  • Give preference to hobbies that involve you being active.
  • Meet up with friends for a walk or to do something active such as table tennis, bowling, badminton, etc.
How much exercise do I need?

The more active you are, the greater the benefits for your health. The right amount depends on your physical condition and age. Generally, nobody needs to fear regularly quickening their pulse a little.

Children and young people

Younger children generally enjoy moving and you shouldn't set them any limits. They notice themselves when they've had enough. Young people should do at least one hour of exercise a day with several moderate and higher intensity sessions a week. Moderate means being slightly out of breath, while higher intensity should get you working up a sweat. Ideally, young people should follow a varied exercise programme with playful elements to train their strength and endurance while increasing their flexibility and dexterity.


For adults, the aim is to improve stamina and strengthen the muscles. They should do at least 2½ hours of moderate intensity exercise every week, such as stair climbing, brisk walking or cycling. If you have less time to spare, you can do 1¼ hours a week at greater intensity, i.e. you should work up a slight sweat. Either way, it is recommended that you spread your activities over several days of the week.

Older adults

Exercise keeps older people young and allows them to stay mobile and independent. Try to do at least 2½ hours of moderately intense physical activity or 1¼ hours of high intensity exercise every week. This does not mean you have to strive to keep up with top athletes, though. Brisk walks, cycling or walking to the shops, gardening or swimming a few lengths of the pool are efficient everyday training methods, and all of them improve stamina and flexibility.

How can I motivate myself? Where do I start?

Start with small steps. If you make exercise and physical activity part of your everyday routine, they'll soon become a habit. Don't put yourself under pressure. Take it easy and follow our tips and you'll soon enjoy exercising.

Choose a type of exercise that appeals to you.

Remember why exercise is important for your health and quality of life. Choose a type of exercise you like and enjoy.

Listen to your body.

Pay attention to the messages your body is sending you. Your body will tell you whether the goals you're aiming for are appropriate or if you're expecting too much of yourself. If you set your sights too high, you'll only get frustrated.

Find people who want the same thing.

Exercising as part of a group is more motivating: hiking, cycling or playing badminton together is fun and easy to organise.

Set yourself reasonable goals.

Sensible goals are SMART goals:

S = specific: does the form of exercise suit me?

M = measurable: what do I want to achieve? (pulse monitor, step counter, walking distance, time per kilometre, etc.)

A = attractive: which type of exercise do I enjoy most?

R = realistic: can I achieve what I want to achieve?

T = timed: how do I schedule physical activity into everyday life?

Draw up a plan.

Put fixed dates for exercise in your diary and consciously take the time for physical activity.

What do older beginners have to bear in mind?

Are you concerned that you might be putting too much strain on your heart? You don't need to worry if you exercise at moderate intensity. If you want to take up more intensive forms of training, women aged over 55 and men over 45 should discuss their plans with a doctor and maybe go and have a check-up.

What exercise should I do? What type of exercise suits me?

There has never been such a wide and varied range of opportunities to get active as today. Running, swimming, dancing, playing football, strength and endurance training – you have an almost unlimited choice.

Walking and Nordic walking are perfect for beginners. Suitable routes can be found almost everywhere. It won't take you long to learn the correct Nordic walking technique and how to use the poles effectively. If you want to increase the intensity of your workout, switch to jogging or running. Running is a great choice. It improves your strength and stamina and effectively prevents heart and circulatory disorders at the same time.

Running on the Helsana Trails is especially great fun. The scenic, signposted running routes in the great outdoors are ideal for every kind of running sport and can also be used for walking and hiking. Find a Helsana Trail near you .

What's important to you in life? What type of exercise do you like? Choose one and get fit!

Your needs Your options
Nature and fresh air Walking, Nordic walking, running, hiking, climbing/mountaineering, riding, cycling, boot camp, winter sports (cross-country skiing, ski tours, snowshoeing, etc.), orienteering
Music Dancing, group fitness (Zumba, dancing, etc.), aqua fitness, gymnastics
Peace and relaxation Peace and relaxation
Together with friends Badminton, tennis, squash, table tennis, in-line skating, tandem, golf, tennis, Frisbee
Fun and action Mountain biking, bouldering, slacklining, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing
Team sports Football, basketball, floorball, ice hockey, handball, volleyball, rugby, fistball
Strength and fitness training Strength training, group fitness (aerobics, body pump, etc.)
Competitive sports Martial arts (boxing, judo, kung fu, etc.), fencing, Swiss wrestling
Endurance training Running, cycling, swimming, trampolining
Water sports Swimming, rowing, surfing, snorkelling, sailing, diving
Other ideas Gymnastics, Hornussen (traditional Swiss sport), ice-skating, curling


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