We all know we’re supposed to be physically active, but why?
Increasing your activity levels can have a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing in a wide variety of ways. And importantly, according to the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines, any activity is better than none so you don’t need to worry about training for that marathon (unless you want to!). Just going for a brisk walk occasionally, digging that old bike out of the garage or playing in the park with your children can all improve your health.
People who are active are likely to sleep better and will find it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Not only that, but physical activity can improve your mental health too – whether you just need a bit of headspace or have a more serious condition such as depression. Exercise makes your brain release endorphins (feel-good chemicals) which will help to lift your mood, and it reduces your levels of cortisol (stress hormones), making it easier to control stress and anxiety. If you get a mental lift from being in the great outdoors, or from socialising, you can make sure that the activity you choose helps you to benefit from this too.
As well as lowering your risk of developing various long-term health conditions, getting active can also help you to manage existing conditions. To find out more about how physical activity can support those with, or at risk of, specific long-term health conditions please use the menu on the left.
Whatever your age and current health status, you can benefit from becoming more active (although if you have any concerns about your health, don’t forget to talk to your GP or other health professional first…). You can find out more about how physical activity benefits different age groups, as well as pregnant women, women after childbirth or disabled adults by clicking here