Lifestyle and exercise

A healthy lifestyle is not just about having a balanced diet. Exercise also plays an important role in achieving this.

What are the benefits of doing regular physical activity?

Doing regular exercise has many benefits such as:

  • It helps to maintain a healthy weight

  • It can decrease the risk of stress and depression

  • It improves mood and increases energy levels

  • It reduces the risk of developing many illnesses for example heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers

  • It helps to promote regular bowel movement

How much exercise is recommended?

In 2011 the Government issued some new guidelines on physical activity. It is recommended that adults (aged 19-64 years) should try to be active everyday and aim to do:


A minimum of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity per week. Examples of moderate intensity physical activities include cycling, walking quickly or basketball. The activity should be carried out in 10 minute sessions or more. One way of achieving this would be to do 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.



 a minimum of 75 minutes (1.25 hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity per week. Examples of vigorous intensity physical activity include running, swimming and cycling fast or mountain biking. You should aim to spread your 75minutes out across the week.



a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity.


PLEASE NOTE that exercises to increase your muscle strength should be carried out by all adults on a minimum of two days per week. Examples of activities to increase your muscle strength include weight lifting, sit-ups or push-ups.



Exercise and Calories

Doing regular physical activity along with having a healthy diet can help you lose weight. If you don't need to lose weight, you may need to increase your calorie intake to compensate for what you have burned during exercise.


The table below looks at the estimated calories burned when doing a variety of exercises for 30 minutes. Values are based on a 70kg individual.




Estimated calories burned
in 30 minutes

Running at 6 mph


Playing tennis (singles)


Cycling at 14-15.9mph






Playing football


Walking quickly at 4 mph



What is Sodexo doing to promote physical activity?

Sodexo recognises the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. In 2011, Sodexo signed up to the 'Physical Activity in the Workplace' pledge as part of the Government's Public Health Responsibility Deal.

Since signing up to this pledge we have put measures in place with the aim to increase physical activity levels in the workplace.

Recently 600 of our employees took part in a 10,000 steps a day challenge that took place over 6 weeks. The event encouraged employees to exercise daily in order to reach this target. There is no doubt that this challenge made participants more aware of how much exercise they were doing and what they needed to do in order to achieve 10,000 steps which is the equivalent of about 5 miles. Overall the event was a huge success with many participants reporting that their fitness had improved.