I need to have a better understanding of how being more active will benefit me

Women doing aerobic dance

Physical Activity has historically been linked to helping have a healthy weight along with a balanced diet. But more recently there has been a whole host of research which suggests that being inactive brings a range of health risks. This was found nearly 70 years ago when it was noticed that bus drivers had more health issues than bus conductors and it was suggested that it was because the conductors were on their feet all day whilst the drivers were sat down. Since this study, research has identified many more factors where a physically active lifestyle can improve your health and reduce your chance of developing health conditions, some of which are highlighted below;

Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, clinical depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Other conditions that people who do regular physical activity have lower risk of are:

  • bowel cancer
  • osteoarthritis
  • hip fracture
  • falls (among older adults)

Being more active has shown to have many other benefits beyond the well known health conditions. Being active has an effect on your mental health and wellbeing, social interactions and cognitive functions such as balance and co-ordination. Having an active lifestyle won’t just prevent disease but also give you the platform for more independence as you get older, thus reducing your risk of falls delaying frailty and infirmity. Some of the wider benefits are highlighted below;

Whilst the benefits of being active have been highlighted above, there is a more robust movement to include strength based activities into daily life. Whereas research has focused on aerobic activity mainly (exercise through movement), there is more evidence that muscle and bone strengthening activities, which are based on weight-bearing movements (carrying shopping, specific exercises, circuits class), are vital to help you when you get older to improve your chances of prolonged independence compared to those who don’t do this. Some more information in the graphic below:

There are many health and scientific reasons why you should be active, some of these outlined above and are reasonably well known. However, the main overall reason to be active is so that you can increase the chance that you can continue to live the life you want to lead for as long as possible. There are no givens in this world but you can give yourself the chance of growing old in good shape physically and mental by being active in some way, not marathon running (although if that’s what you do then great!!) but by keeping moving for as long as possible.


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