Health benefits

Regular physical activity is an important part of living well. People who lead an active lifestyle are more likely to live longer and less likely to develop serious illnesses and health conditions.

Nowadays people are generally less active day to day. Most of us drive cars or take public transport rather than cycling or walking to work, with fewer of us working in manual jobs. Many then leave work to watch TV, use phones, computers and tablets as entertainment in the evening. Too much prolonged sitting can cause serious health problems. It is thought to slow your metabolism, affecting the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat which in turn can increase your chances of getting a number serious health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.

There is overwhelming evidence proving that we should all be more physically active. It's crucial if you want to live a healthy, fulfilling life into old age. The easiest way of becoming more active is to make physical activity part of your everyday life. There are simple ways of achieving a more active lifestyle and the more you do, the better.

The medically proven health benefits of regular physical activity include:

  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls among older adults
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

Research also suggests that regular physical activity can improve your general mood, self-confidence and sleep quality as well as give you more energy and reduce stress levels.

There are recommended physical activity guidelines for your age group which you should aim for as a minimum. Find out more about getting started.