Am I getting enough exercise?
In order to assess whether you are doing enough exercise to achieve significant health benefit we recommend you test yourself using an online questionnaire called GPPAQ.
Completing the questionnaire should take approximately 30 seconds and can be done on your own. The questionnaire is valid for people aged 16 to 74 years. It will calculate a 'Physical Activity Index' score which will place you in one of four categories:
Active: You are doing enough exercise, i.e. at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity activity on five or more days per week, to benefit your health significantly.
Moderately active, moderately inactive, inactive (no exercise at all): You are not doing enough exercise to benefit your health significantly.
Please note: Although the GPPAQ asks questions specifically about walking, DIY, housework and gardening, these activities are not included in the Physical Activity Index calculation due to significant over-reporting during validation. Therefore, it may be that you are classified as only moderately active, moderately inactive or inactive but you still actually meet the exercise recommendations for significant health benefit.
Please print off a copy of the completed questionnaire or record your score and bring it to the surgery with you at your next visit so that we can update our records accordingly.
What if I have a medical condition? Is it safe for me to exercise?
According to the British Heart Foundation, "it is generally believed that the benefits of regular moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity far outweigh the risks, except in those with the following conditions":
- Symptomatic severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of a particular heart valve, that results in breathlessness, chest pain, dizziness or fainting)
- Acute pulmonary embolus or pulmonary infarction (a clot of the lung, which can result in coughing up blood, breathlessness, chest pain or collapse)
- Acute myocarditis or pericarditis (inflammation of the heart)
- Suspected or known dissecting aneurysym (a dilated major artery which then tears)
- Resting SBP greater or equal to 180mmHG / DBP greater or equal to 100mmHG (uncontrolled high blood pressure)
- Uncontrolled/ unstable angina (chest pains arising from the heart, which come on at rest or are of recent onset or increasing frequency or severity)
- Acute uncontrolled psychiatric illness (severe untreated mental illness)
- Osteoporosis (thinned/ brittle bone)
- Experiences significant drop in BP during exercise (dizziness or collapse on exercise due to low blood pressure)
- Uncontrolled resting tachycardia greater or equal to 100 bpm (pulse rate at rest of over 100 beats per minute)
- Unstable or acute heart failure (impaired pumping action of the heart resulting in symptoms which could include breathlessness, tiredness, ankle swelling and chest pains)
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- New of uncontrolled arrhythmias (heart rhythm disturbance usually experienced as palpitations)
- Experiences chest pain, dizziness or excessive breathlessness during exertion
It is important that inactive individuals gradually increase levels of activity as they become accustomed to being active and as physical fitness improves.