Two in five adults underestimate the recommended levels of exercise they should be doing, a British poll suggests.

To stay healthy, adults under the age of 65 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week. They should also perform muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days each week.

But 41 per cent of adults polled by the sustainable transport charity in the UK Sustrans did not know the correct amount of exercise they should be undertaking to benefit their health.

The poll of 2000 people from across the UK also found that women are more aware of the health benefits of regular exercise than men, the charity said.


"It may not be a great surprise that women are more in touch with what's good for them, but this does highlight that more needs to be done to make walking and cycling easier, safer and more attractive; and to raise awareness of the health benefits to be had from physical activity, especially among men," said the charity's health director Philip Insall.

"From 1961 to 2005, levels of physical activity in the UK dropped by 20 per cent and if current trends continue, will reduce by more than 35 per cent by 2030. As a direct result, obesity, diabetes and many more health disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent.

"The minimal recommended amount of physical activity for men and women is 150 minutes per week but healthy levels of activity can be built into a person's day much more easily than they might think.

"Getting a healthy amount of physical activity doesn't have to mean slogging away in the gym - it can be achieved by building activity into your daily routine by choosing to walk or cycle your everyday journeys, instead of taking the car."