Keep active (professional)



Key messages & facts

If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented.

The benefits of physical activity have been well documented and follow a dose-response curve i.e. a small amount of physical activity is good but more is better. However, greatest health benefits are observed in those who are sedentary and begin to undertake even a small amount of physical activity.

Participation in physical activity is a cost-effective way to improve both physical and mental health, it can help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions. Having a physically active population can help reduce costs to the NHS and wider society. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.

 DiseaseRisk reductionStrength of evidence 
 Death  20-35%  Strong
 CHD and Stroke  20-35%  Strong
Type 2 Diabetes  35-50%  Strong
 Colon Cancer  30-50%  Strong
 Breast Cancer  20%  Strong
 Hip Fracture  36-68%  Moderate
 Depression  20-30%  Strong
 Alzheimer's Disease  40%  Moderate

Guidance from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) on how much physical activity people should be doing.

Health care professionals should routinely ask patients about their physical activity levels in consultations and give brief advice based on whether or not patients are meeting the CMO guidelines.

The General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ) is a validated screening tool, used in primary care to assess the physical activity levels of adults (16 to 74 years).

It provides a simple, 4 level physical activity index (PAI). Practitioners can use this index to help them decide when to offer interventions to increase physical activity.

According to self-report measures 1 in 4 adults do not meet the CMO guidance levels of physical activity.

Referral & pathways (mainstream BAU)

Patients should be encouraged to work towards the CMO guidelines by incorporating physical activity into their daily lives and be advised to reduce their sedentary time.

For physical activity opportunities available in each of the areas please click on your district below for guidance on giving brief intervention, support resources and local physical activity initiatives:


 Broxbourne Dacorum
East Herts 


North Herts

St Albans

 Stevenage  Three Rivers

Welwyn Hatfield


BMJ 9 e-learning modules for physical activity

Campaigns and initiatives

Hertfordshire's Year of Walking

The Countryside Management Service provides details on the FREE Hertfordshire Health Walks programme

Hertfordshire Workplace Activity Challenge

Hertfordshire Exercise Referral Scheme

Hertfordshire generic exercise referral form


The Daily Mile

More than 40 schools across the county have signed up to The Daily Mile, encouraging children to get outside in all weathers for 15 minutes every day to walk and run - on average about a mile.

It's completely free - there's no kit required so no time wasted getting changed. It's really flexible too - some schools timetable it, others run it when classroom concentration needs boosting.

Schools: Register online to take part and find everything that you need.

Email us if you have any questions or need any help. Let us know when you've registered and we'll send your school a certificate.

Data and information including JSNA

JSNA Activity and Weight 

The Hertfordshire Public Health Strategy 2013-2017 Strategy

Evidence based around physical activity and mental health