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Physical Activity and Health

There is overwhelming evidence that we should all be physically active and it’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.

Being active keeps us physically and mentally healthy, it improves our social lives and keeps us in touch with our communities.

It can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower the risk of early death by up to 35%.

We want to get everybody across South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire active every day. How are you going to play your part?

Public Health England (PHE) wants to drive a step change in the public’s health. Look at how the national physical activity framework can help to get Everybody Active, Every Day.

Everybody active, every day – An evidence-based approach to physical activity
Everybody active, every day. What works – the evidence

Reducing sedentary lifestyles

The benefits of a physically active lifestyle are well established. However, there has also been a growing interest in the role that sedentary behaviour may play in health and wellbeing.

Sedentary behaviour is not defined simply as a lack of physical activity but is a separate behaviour in its own right. It is possible for individuals to participate in the recommended amount of physical activity and also engage in high levels of sedentary behaviour.

Therefore, guidelines recommend that people of all ages should avoid prolonged periods of sedentary behaviour and break up periods of sitting even if they would define themselves as active by the Chief Medical Officer guidelines. This has large implications for how people work, travel and spend their free time. We need to collectively make it easier for people to reduce their time spent sedentary.

Resources

What is sedentary behaviour?

Factors influencing sedentary behaviour?

Sedentary behaviour – evidence briefing

Physical activity guidelines

Early Years – Under 5s (not yet walking)
Being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. For this age group, activity of any intensity should be encouraged, including light activity and more energetic physical activity. Read more…

Early Years – Under 5s (walking)
Once a baby starts to toddle, they should be active for at least 3 hours every day. Minimise the amount of time they spend sitting watching TV, playing computer games and travelling by car, bus or train. Read more…

Children & Young People – 5-18 years
Children aged 5-18 should do at least one hour of energetic activity every day. This might include running, skipping, swimming or cycling. On at least three days a week they should do some exercise that helps develop their muscles and bones, such as hopscotch, gymnastics, climbing or lifting. Children that are active through their childhood are far more likely to be healthy adults, with less risk of diseases and being overweight.
Read the full guidelines. Read more…

Adults – 19-64 years
Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, stomach, chest,  shoulders and arms).  Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. Read more…

Older Adults – aged 65+
Older adults aged 65 or older, who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility, should try to be active daily and should do:

At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and  muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.

Even for adults with health conditions, physical activity is still beneficial for most people. Ask your doctor for advice before you get started if you are planning on becoming active for the first time and you have a health condition.

Some activity, however light, is better for your health than none at all. Read more…

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