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This month is Active for April, an annual campaign that encourages you to do something active every day in April. To help you keep on your toes this month, we’ve put together some tips for how you can be active throughout the month and why it’s important.

What is Active for April?

Active for April is an annual campaign that seeks to encourage people to do something active for each day in April. Organised by Bowel Cancer UK, Active for April is a great way to improve your physical health by taking part in physical exercise for boosting your cardiovascular health.

While there is a calendar full of activities you can do, the choice is entirely up to you. Your health and well-being will notice the difference as long as you do 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Whatever works for you!

Getting your friends and family involved can also be a great way to increase awareness of Active for April and the importance of physical activity. Combining healthy eating and keeping active can help minimise the risk of heart disease.

Why should you keep active?

Keeping active provides many benefits for your health. Not only does physical exercise help burn calories, but it also helps improve blood flow. Our cardiovascular system also works more efficiently by delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout our body.

When our cardiovascular system works much more efficiently, our heart and lung health improve. Regular physical exercise can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can also improve as a result.

Also, HDL (good cholesterol) gets a boost from physical activity. High-density lipoprotein is the good cholesterol our bodies need to help regulate the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. From this, blood flows much more smoothly improving our heart health.

Keeping your body physically active can also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Physical inactivity and being overweight are two causes of type 2 diabetes. Staying inactive for long periods of time can change our bodies’ metabolism, alongside insulin resistance.

Keeping your body active also reduces the likelihood of illness, such as the pesky common cold! That’s because keeping ourselves physically active helps flush out any harmful bacteria from our airways. Respiratory illnesses, such as colds and flu, stand less of a chance to make us ill.

Other benefits you can gain from regular physical activity include:

  • Better weight management
  • Improves bone and muscle strength
  • Reduces the risk of fall
  • Can help increase life expectancy
  • Reduces the risk of dementia
  • Improves our mood and wellbeing
  • Reduces stress and tension
  • Helps improve your sleep quality

Research has found that partaking in regular physical exercise helps reduce the risk of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Certain cancers, such as breast, bladder, and kidney
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Depression and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of keeping physically active, let’s look at some ways you can keep active for April.

How much physical exercise should you do?

Active for April seeks to encourage you to do a different form of physical exercise for 30 minutes each day throughout the month.

Guidelines in the UK for adults aged 19 to 64 is that you should do some form of physical activity each day. While exercising once or twice a week can reduce the risk of life-threatening illnesses, the most benefit is gained from exercising every day.

Physical activity can either be moderate aerobic or vigorous. Moderate aerobic activity is any form of physical exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing. Vigorous activity is anything that will make your breathing hard and fast.

Generally, moderate aerobic exercise is any form of activity where you can still talk but not sing. Vigorous exercise is any form of activity that makes it difficult to talk without needing to pause for breath.

It is recommended that we do 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week or 150 of moderately intense activity per week to stay healthy. Any exercise you do should be spread out evenly throughout the week.

How can you keep physically active?

There are many ways you can keep yourself physically active. Whether you are looking for moderate or intense exercise, here are some tips for keeping active:

Brisk walking

A brisk walk is the first way you can keep yourself physically active. Going on a brisk walk for 30 minutes can help burn around 200 calories. Not only that, but it gets you outdoors as well which can boost your mood and mental health.

Going for a run

If you want some more intense exercise than going for a brisk walk, consider going for a run instead. Whether jogging or running, it helps burns the most calories compared to other forms of exercise. Regularly going for a jog or run helps improve heart health and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Bicycle ride

If you have an old bike buried in the shed, now may be a good time to dig it out. Going for a bicycle ride is another great form of moderate exercise. Going for a bicycle ride can improve your cardiovascular health. A ride of just 30 minutes can make a big difference.

Mowing the lawn

A chore that many may not even think of as a form of exercise, mowing the lawn is another great way to keep active. Not only does cutting the grass helps to relieve stress, but it’s also a good form of physical exercise. Pushing the lawnmower around is an efficient form of cardio exercise.


Swimming provides many health benefits making it another great way to keep active. Maintaining uninterrupted heart-pumping swimming provides the most benefit. But even going for a little swim still counts. It helps your heart rate and improves cardio fitness.


Fancy a dance? Dancing is another great way to keep physically active. Asides from helping keep you healthier, the endorphin boost you get from dancing boosts your mood too. Depending on the intensity, dancing can either be moderate or intense. So, stick on some music and move those feet!

Playing sports

Plenty of sports involve physical activity such as running. Whether it’s football, baseball, volleyball, you name it, they all involve intense exercise. Get your competitive spirit up and have a game with friends or family.

Walking up stairs

If you want to try and stay active at home, walking up the stairs is a perfect choice. Running up and down steps is a great boost for your cardiovascular health and gets the blood flowing. Walking up some stairs can help reduce the risk of falls and improve our leg muscles.

Household chores

Just like mowing the lawn, your daily household chores are another way to keep active. Who said housework needs to be boring? Vacuuming, DIY, gardening, and scrubbing are all ways to provide moderate intense exercise.

Standing up

If you find you are sitting for long periods of time, standing up and performing tasks while standing is another form of physical activity to consider. As standing places more stress on the body, it helps to burn more calories as opposed to sitting. Taking a short standing break every hour can help!

If standing up at work isn’t an option, you could also consider other ways of incorporating some form of physical activity while you work. Walking up and down the stairs, switching your chair for an exercise ball, or standing while on the phone are all ways to keep active.

Watching workout

Spend a lot of time watching Netflix or movies? If you do, a watching workout is another good way to sneak in some moderate exercise. If you have an exercise bike or treadmill, add these to the same room so you can watch something and work out at the same time. Yoga, chair squats, or stretching are alternatives.

10-minute home workout

Stuck at home? The 10-minute home workout provides a good source of moderate exercise. Exercises such as squats, sit-ups, and jumping jacks are all part of a quick 10-minute workout. Your heart and muscles will feel the benefit from this quick burst of exercise.

Chair exercises

For those who are wheelchair-bound or have mobility difficulties, it is still important to get plenty of exercise. Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises you can still do to keep yourself healthy. Check out some chair-based exercises you can do from the British Heart Foundation.

Play an active computer game

Combine the enjoyment of playing a computer game and keeping active. Consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, Wii-U, and Wii all have games that can provide you with some moderate exercise. Try and beat your high score and gain the physical benefits too from playing sports games.

There are so many different physical exercises you can do to keep yourself active and healthy. Make sure you get enough physical exercise per week to ensure your heart and mind benefit the most. Continue keeping active beyond April for better cardiovascular and heart health.