Benefits of exercise

Regular physical activity is an important part of living well. People who lead an active lifestyle are more likely to live longer and are 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.

Risks of not doing regular exercise

Too much prolonged sitting can cause serious health problems. It's thought to slow your metabolism, affecting the body's ability to:

  • regulate blood sugar
  • regulate blood pressure
  • break down body fat

This can, in turn, increase your chances of getting a number serious health conditions including:

Health benefits of regular exercise

There's 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 to become 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
  • colon cancer

There's also up to a 30% lower risk of:

  • early death
  • falls among older adults
  • depression
  • dementia

Other health benefits of regular exercise include up to:

  • an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • a 20% lower risk of breast cancer

Research also suggests that regular physical activity can improve your:

  • general mood
  • self-confidence
  • sleep quality
  • energy levels
  • stress levels

Exercising more

There are recommended physical activity guidelines for your age group which you should aim for as a minimum.

Further advice on exercising more

Last updated:
30 November 2022

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